I feel like we are watching the most spectacular hurricane recovery ever unfold. Florida Power and Light estimated earlier this week that we would have electricity back at our house by this coming Sunday. We received a notification this morning that the power is already back on. This is only one week after one of the worst storms in US history hit our area!
Governor DeSantis seems to have taken up residence at the Luminary Hotel in downtown Fort Myers, which is walking distance from our house. I have half a mind to bike down there with our daughter so she can have her picture made with the chap who will most likely be the next President of the United States. But he does have a lot to deal with right now, so who knows.
The bridge to Pine Island (one of the lesser-populated barrier islands, but totally devastated by the storm) will be repaired by the end of this week. DeSantis says the bridge to Sanibel (the barrier island closest to our house) will be passable by the end of this month. The Florida Department of Transportation already has the contract out. This should accelerate recovery efforts for those towns exponentially, as right now all recovery efforts have to take place via boat or helicopter.
Life in Fort Myers is slowly returning to “normal.” Folks are returning to work, restaurants and stores are reopening. (Many local restaurants have spent the last week passing out free meals to first responders and the needy.) Our church resumed holding Mass as soon as the storm passed, and acted as a daytime shelter for many residents. The parish meeting hall was built with showers in the restrooms (excellent foresight) and the facility still had power, internet, and water. People who needed to recharge their electronics or work from home could park themselves there.
We knew when we moved to Florida that the state government had hurricane recovery efforts down to a science. (Florida is a very wealthy state tax base-wise and, unlike other highly-populated states, has extremely competent state and local governments in general. Except for Broward County – don’t let anyone ever convince you to move to Broward County. Not joking.) But DeSantis is something else entirely. He came out of the gate saying he has the funds and will spare no expense getting southwest Florida back in working condition. I have never seen such efficient and expedient government operations as these. I am truly thankful to have him as our leader.