On Sept. 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian pounded greater Pine Island with nearly 150mph winds for more than 12 hours. By the time Ian — one of the strongest storms to ever hit Florida — finally moved on, the Island’s communities were devastated. Five islanders had lost their lives, 90 percent of the buildings — including homes and businesses — were damaged, with 20 percent of them classified by county officials as having “major damage” and 3 percent as “destroyed.”
The Island was also cut off from the mainland when road leading to the Little Pine Island bridge was washed away. Cut off, and with no on-Island government or other coordinating entity to address the community’s immediate needs, Islanders and Island-based nonprofits sprang into action as neighbors helped neighbors in the immediate aftermath of the storm.