BSM Community Members Affected by Hurricane Ian


Courtesy of ABC NEWS

Sanibel Island faces destruction after hurricane Ian

On September 23rd of this year, a Category 4 Atlantic Hurricane was formed. As winds and heavy rain picked up,it was projected to head through the northern tip of Cuba and streak through the middle of Florida. Reaching a high windspeed of 155 mph, the hurricane tore through many big cities like Fort Myers, Sarasota Bay, and Havana, Cuba.

The damage grows by the day, and the estimated costs are yet to be determined. The fatality count is at 132 known, luckily though, the people at Benilde-St. Margaret have not had any family members or relatives on that list. Unfortunately, the damage has still affected the BSM community.

History teacher Megan Kern has parents who live in Sanibel, Florida. Hurricane Ian hit their home, fortunately not before they evacuated. “Their house is at ground level, not up on stilts, so I think they have a storm surge of eight or nine feet. So their house is intact, and the roof is intact, but the property is surrounded by water,” Kern said.

Though the house was flooded, her parents are still actively working to help around the island. “My dad does structural building inspections on the island. So my mom is just living with our sister for the time being, and my dad’s going back and forth to the island to another friend’s house,” Kern said.

Sophomore Gabriella Jonczyk had a similar story with her uncle, who lives in Sarasota. Their family had no power and significant damage around the neighborhood at the time. The lack of power is a constant throughout each person’s experience. In terms of support, they’re seeking local help and reaching out to families. “They have called their family friends and their family just to talk through it and see what else they could possibly do,” Jonczyk said.

Luckily, these two could contact their relatives during that time. Unfortunately, chemistry teacher Lisa Bargas was unlucky in that matter. Her mom in Venice, Florida, could not contact Bargas for an extended period. “I’m worried about her. I emailed her every day. And I tried to call her every day, but I get the recorded message saying that the call can’t be completed as dialed,” Bargas said.

Fortunately, she was able to reach out to Bargas’ sister. “She is fine. Physically, she’s fine,” Bargas said.

The grief Bargas is facing is shared among many families affected by the hurricanes at this time. “It’s really stressful for me personally because my uncle is so close to the beaches; there’s always a possibility of his house flooding and severe floods,” Jonczyk said.

They all hope to help somehow, whether by reaching out or seeking government assistance. “We’ve tried to have family meetings with insurance people, disaster relief, FEMA. And each of their kids is in charge of one piece of it,” Kern said.

Even providing hospitality is an option. “I’d like her to come to stay with me for a couple of weeks,” Bargas said.

In a state of emergency, BSM represents a community ready to lend a helping hand. The recent hurricane has affected BSM families harshly, but these three people are prime examples of circumvention and support in a time of need.