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MaryGrace Patterson

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Member Since: Feb, 2005

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Charleys Destruction Of Punta Gorda , And Our Recovery ,,, part four
By MaryGrace Patterson
Sunday, October 08, 2006

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Charley directly hit the Peace River, Charlotte Harbor area, which is about ten miles from us. It then traveled to Desoto, Hardee, Polk,and Orange counties leaving a trail of devestation from its winds and tornados .

On Aug. 15, we decided to venture out of our rural safe haven and go to Home Depot to buy a generator. It took us twenty five minutes to go a mile and a half to highway 41. Trees, downed power lines,and all sorts of debree made the roads nearly impassable. Once on 41, we got on Interstate75 and headed north towards Port Charlotte which is on the other side of the Peace River.

Charleys wrath had demolished homes, businesses.Roofs had been torn off structures, cars were turned over, signs and traffic lights hung at odd angles, telephone poles were splintered. Mobile homes had collapsed. The damage was hurrendous, overpowering. Tears streamed down our faces as we viewed the utter destruction of our town. Some had lost every thing, some even lost their lives.

Home Depot was packed with people. Long lines had formed as people waited to get into the store. Smiling faces were passing out bottles of cool water which we gratefully accepted.

Once inside, we asked where the generators were. A volunteer from Ft Lauderdale took us to the area and helped us get one. A large supply had just arrived. People there were jovial and helpful. It made us realize we weren't alone in this terrible tragedy.

In the days that followed we met men and women who had come from all over the United States to help our community. They passed out water, ice, food and other items needed to survive. They gave a part of their lives to our town, they made a difference! I wish I could thank all of them.

Blue tarps began to appear on roofs, repairs were slowly made. The heat was almost unbearable, but we survived it, as did others. Our generator proved to be a god send, and provived us with TV sometimes, and much needed refrigeration for our food. We eventually purchased a small AC unit for our bed room . Supplies were hard to get, but in time we were able to buy what was needed for some repairs. Two and a half weeks after Charley, electric power was restored to our area by a company from North Carolina.

The rebuilding process is still going on. Our lives have changed, the town has changed, but our unbreakable spirit and courage lives on. We face our future with the knowledge that we can and will endure........



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