By Staff, Nov 23, 2018, Coastal Breeze News
Marco Islanders have not forgotten the wrath that a huge hurricane can bring to a community. The stress and hardship that can be forced upon residents, first responders and the communities they live within was not far out of their minds as Hurricane Michael bore down on the fragile Panhandle area of the state. Already islanders from the Marco Patriots group have run a week-long collection of donations and caravanned up to the devastated Panhandle. There, they saw the actual impact of what a Category 4 storm can bring. It was only a year ago that they got to witness it first hand when Hurricane Irma inflicted considerable damage to Marco Island and surrounding communities in Collier County. Like the Marco Patriots, the Marco Island Fire Rescue Foundation members were also reminded of the sheer devastation that Irma brought to Marco. They had firsthand reports from Deputy Fire Chief David Batiato of the damage inflicted by Hurricane Michael in the Panhandle, from when he was assigned to support to the relief efforts there as part of a joint strike force.
The desire to help first responders in their time of need was immediate, and the Marco Island Fire Rescue Foundation decided in early October to donate to the Panhandle the entire amount of the proceeds from the recent Jerry Adams Chili Cook Off. As such, the Foundation wrote a check for $10,000 to help some of those in the most impacted of areas. That amount would be buoyed by an anonymous donation matching the Foundation’s amount of $10,000, bringing the total to $20,000. At the Foundation’s Thursday board meeting, several members of the Marco Patriots board made a similar donation of $10,000, which raised the total being disbursed to $30,000. The donation would be coordinated through contacts made by Deputy Chief Batiato during the week that he was deployed in the area. “Chief Batiato’s contacts will be invaluable to make sure we have the monies get to the right individuals that have the most needs,” said Marco Island Fire Rescue Chief Michael Murphy. “We are so proud to be able to join forces with the Marco Island Fire Rescue Foundation for this wonderful effort to help those that do put their lives on the line in events such as this,” said ErinMia Milchman of the Marco Patriots.