Hoosiers head to Florida to help those affected by Hurricane Irma

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — With two major hurricanes back-to-back in the United States, Hoosiers are showing they’re not slowing down in their efforts to help out.

From donations to people working hundreds of feet in the air to restore power, the mission is clear that helping others is most important right now.

“Every tree is down. Almost everyone’s roofs are gone. It’s gonna take probably six months to even get power back in some of the places here on this island. It’s going to be a long struggle for a lot of people here. They need our help,” said Mike Coleman, an Indiana native.

Coleman and his girlfriend are stuck on the U.S. Virgin Islands after the region was ravaged by Irma and travel was halted. They traveled there for a wedding, and went from fine dining and ocean views to taking shelter in a cement shed.

Mike hasn’t showered since last Wednesday, but he’s only focused on helping out. Just like Anderson native Michael Pelsor, who’s near Sarasota, Florida, repairing towers that fell hundreds of feet to the ground following the Category 4 hurricane.

“The wind has knocked all the antennas completely out of alignment. Major issue that we’re having is the power issue with all the sites is pretty much out of power. Along with the power issue there’s no fuel. There’s probably only 3 percent of the businesses are open in this town right now,” said Pelsor, a supervisor at Altius Communications.

And more than 1,000 miles away in Martinsville, the fire department reached out to a Hoosier now working for a department in Long Boat Key, Florida, to see how they could help. The mayor says this is a citywide effort.

“We had a flood in 2008, so we’ve been through a natural disaster we’re still kind of recovering a little bit from it. So I think that also resonated with us that we’ve been through something like that and we had people come and help us and we wanted to give back by doing this,” said Mayor Shannon Kohl.

The fire department will be collecting water, Gatorade, band-aids, toothpaste, toothbrushes, baby wipes, non-perishable snacks and work gloves at the department at 160 West Morgan Street from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Saturday.

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