CARMEL, Ind.- As Hurricane Irma slams into Florida, Hoosiers are welcoming evacuees with open arms, while others are heading into the storm’s path to provide relief.
Millions of people have fled the state as mandatory evacuation orders were issued over the past few days, while thousands of others are rallying to help those who are still in Florida.
This could go down as the biggest evacuation effort in Florida’s history, and many of those evacuees have ended up with friends and family in central Indiana.
“I ain’t (sic) worried about the house, I worry about friends,” said Lanney Eaton, who evacuated from Florida with his wife and is staying in Carmel
“We were going to leave Thursday morning, but I decided we’re leaving Wednesday,” said Eaton.
At this point, it’s not clear when Eaton and his wife be able to get back to their home in rotunda, about two hours south of Tampa.
“The way it looks we’re going to be at ground zero when it comes through,” said Eaton, referring to the location of his home in Florida.
Yet as they and so many others like them seek refuge in the land of Hoosier hospitality, others are heading out to help.
“We want to get there quickly, we want to be there to support and partner with local officials to provide relief,” said Indiana National Guard member Sean Bradley.
Sunday morning, Indiana’s National Guard unit geared up and hit the road, not knowing what they’ll find in Florida, or how long they’ll be there.
Additional volunteers from Indiana-based relief units and organizations could still be deployed later this week, as we start to getter a better sense of the damage Irma leaves behind.