Some Long Island natives hunker down in Florida as Hurricane Ian makes landfall, others prepare to help

Former Long Islanders who moved to Florida are dealing with the dangerous impacts of Hurricane Ian.

News 12 Staff

Sep 28, 2022, 9:52 PM

Updated 662 days ago

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Former Long Islanders who moved to Florida are dealing with the dangerous impacts of Hurricane Ian.
John and Anna LaMendola, formerly of Syosset, now live in Punta Gorda, Florida. They were supposed to be celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary, but instead they had to evacuate their home and relocate to a shelter at a high school.
"I'm worried about storm surge flooding, the winds are so strong we might not find a roof," the LaMendolas say.
They say they secured their home as well as they could, brought outside furniture inside and are hoping for the best
Kelsey Bodziner moved from East Hampton to Tampa a decade ago. She was prepared with candles and flashlights with sandbags trying to secure her home.
"Hopefully the flooding isn't too crazy, I'm a block away from Bayshore Boulevard, which is where Tampa Bay is. So, just hoping the water doesn't rise too high and flood the streets," Bodziner says.
News 12's own Danielle Campbell's son, David Rinere, was riding out his first Florida hurricane in Fort Myers after moving from Huntington two years ago. He said he was getting ready for whatever Hurricane Ian may deliver.
"We have a generator, flashlights and nonperishable food," Rinere says. "We filled up bathtubs up with water to use for bathing depending on how long power is down."
Some were on vacation at the Happiest Place on Earth as the whole state was affected.
Alex Dollin says there was a lockdown situation so they were told to stay in their hotel rooms in Disney World during the worst of the storm. He and his wife don't know when they will get back to Long Island, but is grateful that Disney is allowing them to stay on their property.
"They don't want people checking out until after everything is safe," Dollin says. "They want us to stay in these rooms at least through Thursday."
He says that Disney World has not given a timetable on when they will lift their lockdown but hopes that he and his wife will be able to fly out of Orlando by Saturday.
Meanwhile, people at Island Harvest and others on Long Island are on standby to help those in the hurricane's path.
Island Harvest Executive Director Randi Dresner says they have emergency response supplies are ready to be shipped there at a moment's notice.
"When one food bank needs help all step up and do what we can to help out so we're waiting for the call to see what our colleagues in Florida, what they need help with," Dresner says.
Members of the Bay Shore-based group Jibaritos with Troops just arrived in Puerto Rico Wednesday with recovery efforts for Hurricane Fiona.
The group says they plan to shift gears once they leave Puerto Rico to help people who may be in need in Florida.
"If we can be there, boots on the ground how we call it, we'll go to wherever it is to help," says Amee Hernandez, of Jibaritos With Troops. "We've been to Texas, we've been to Puerto Rico, we've been to the Bronx, hey Jibaritos With Troops will go wherever is needed."
Dresner says anyone who wants to help people in Florida can donate money to a trusted organization helping with the recovery efforts in the state.


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