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One can only empathize with those poor souls on the SW Gulf Coast of Florida who were devastated by this hurricane. Imagine losing your residence, possessions and perhaps your life. Sad is the best word to use. This writer had his family’s own experience with such weather terror, when Hurricane Mathew hit us directly on October 6th, 2016. We had a tree fly into our roof, unleashing a torrent of rain into our home. Just about 75% of our possessions were damaged, and we had to evacuate for almost five months. Candidly, FEMA at that time was more of a PR exercise than actually helping us. Finding a contractor took too much time, and the one we found turned out to be sincere but too overbooked to send us capable men to handle the job ( We still can trip over the tile job throughout our living room and bedroom). The insurance company was so terrible that we had to sue them to get our money, and what we received in the end was not enough.

I had an experience with my then Congressman, Ron DeSantis. FEMA twice rejected our medical claims for reimbursement of acupuncture treatments that my wife and I were getting twice a week from our licensed Chinese Medicine doctor ( Alas, acupuncture was and IS still not covered by Medicare, and we could only afford  a hospitalization plan for her as she was under the Medicare age). So, like any constituent, I went to see DeSantis’s chief of staff at his local Port Orange office. She sat with me and sent an email to FEMA as we spoke. She also boasted that her husband was in the insurance field ( to me that was NOT something to be proud of). As I left her office my wife called me on my cell phone telling me that FEMA just called. Wow! I raced home and called the number. The woman from FEMA gave me her best version of bull as to why FEMA could not reimburse us. Her only retort to my argument of why they should help us ( my wife started getting PTSD panic attacks and I had terrible prostate problems exacerbated by the terrible stress ) was ” Well, you can appeal again, but may not see any positive resolution.” I was pissed! I called DeSantis’s  chief of staff and relayed what occurred. She just told me there was nothing more she could do to help us. She even gave the same argument that the FEMA woman gave me.

The very next day I called Senator Nelson’s main office in Florida. They put me in touch with someone on his staff. I told the long, entire story to him and faxed over all the paperwork in question. He then got in touch with FEMA and let them know that Senator Nelson was interested in seeing us reimbursed for Legitimate medical conditions that the acupuncture was treating successfully It took a few months, and the Senator’s staff person stayed on our case. Guess what? We got fully reimbursed!

That was six years ago. A few days ago, the massive hurricane that devastated those poor Floridians crept across the state and dropped more rain on our area than ever imaginable. We lost power later that night and  in the morning watched the rain soaking the ground front and back of our home as it kept moving closer and closer to our doors. My neighbor next door had flooding in her back porch, and the retention pond down the street overflowed and created a river outside. A day later, with no power, we had to clean out our two refrigerators and throw everything out. The house got very hot inside and we had to use flashlights at night to use the bathroom and kitchen ( boarded up windows made the place super dark). Being a senior citizen in times of crisis is not easy. Finally, after two days of this, the power returned. How wonderful to feel the cool air bouncing off of you. The only silver lining in all this was that my wife and I revisited Gin Rummy to pass the hours at night… with a powerful flashlight of course.

To all the war mongering politicians and government officials with their supporters, walk a mile in the shoes of the people we bomb overseas. Have your area infrastructure destroyed and lose the power in your home… IF it is still livable! See the debris cover your neighborhood roads, some now reduced to craters or miniature lakes, and feel as we felt for two days: Prisoners! No stores open to get food and drinking water. No way to drive through the river which was once a street. If we here in Florida thought that 90+ temperature with no AC was horrible, imagine the Iraqis after our illegal and immoral attack in 2003. They had to deal with 110+ degree heat with the aforementioned conditions… and that was for months, not a few days! The hurricane that is worse than Hurricane Mathew and Hurricane Ian is Hurricane America!

PA Farruggio
After the Storm