NAPLES, Fla. – Floridians continue to sift through the flood-soaked rubble of their homes after Ian barreled through the Sunshine State nearly two weeks ago.
Naples resident Heidi Schroyer worked to pick up the pieces of what was left of her parents' home.
"I've thrown out pictures of family members from the 1800s," Schroyer said. "It's quite heartbreaking, but we're alive."
Schroyer’s two 90-year-old parents were in their Naples home when water from the storm surge began to rush in. Schroyer, who lives next door, came to rescue her parents from the rising floodwater.
"Getting them through the floodwater, though, to my home was probably the worst thing I've ever dealt with, more so than the flood itself. Just the scary moments of trying to get them to safety," said Schroyer.
Now, their home is being cleared out piece by piece.
Many of their belongings were touched by feet of dirty floodwater, and so are being removed from the house, placed in the driveway or thrown away.
Stacks of boxes and piles debris from nearby homes are placed on the roadside, as many of Schroyer’s neighbors are also cleaning out their flood-damaged homes.
One group that is helping rebuild these homes is the St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit organization named after Louisiana’s St. Bernard Parish.
Formed after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Pelican State in 2005, the organization helps fellow storm victims, such as Schroyer and her parents.
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St. Bernard Project is currently removing flooring and drywall that were destroyed by the nearly three feet of flooding that poured into Schroyer’s parents’ home.
The volunteers stay in disaster-stricken areas for as long as is financially possible. For example, some are still helping storm victims in Puerto Rico, where Hurricane Fiona made landfall on Sept. 18.