Department of Florida

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Hurricane Efforts – Update

We are a little over a month from when Hurricane Ian tore through our state leaving massive destruction to not only to our Legion Posts, but countless homes, and local businesses. In the hardest hit areas, people have lost everything, their homes, places of employment, treasured family items, and now are forced to live in tents or campers without power or water.

Now that the dust has settled and debris cleared from the roads, we have finally been able to check in with all Legion Posts in the Southwestern area. We are dismayed to report six (6) of our American Legion Posts were completely destroyed and left inoperable. The affected area represents approximately 27% of Florida’s Legion Family. Members are working diligently to repair their Post’s infrastructure, as their buildings are a nucleus to their community providing a haven to come and escape reality with friends and comrades.

Our Disaster Preparedness Committee, led by our Department Chairman Bill Hoppner, has been working tirelessly in orchestrating donated hurricane relief items to the impacted areas. In fact, he has driven over 2,625 miles delivering items for distribution to Posts and community centers. It still takes extreme coordination in getting supplies to these locations, so we are still asking for you to inform the department before delivering donated supplies.

We know it will take a long time before we fully recover and are committed to providing service and supplies to our Posts, members, and local communities for as long as we can. It is only because of the support we receive from the entire Legion Family, near and far, that we can continue these efforts.

STORM AND RELIEF STATS

Storm

  • Made landfall on September 28, 2022, at 3:05 PM in Cayo Costa Island, near Fort Myers and Cape Coral
  • High-end Category 4 Hurricane with sustained winds of 155mph

Damage to Posts

  • Heavy Damage – 11 Posts, of which 6 experienced total loss / inoperable: Post 11 – Arcadia, Post 110 – Port Charlotte, Post 123 – Sanibel, Post 136 – St. James City, Post 274 – Fort Myers, Post 303 – Bonita Springs
  • Moderate Damage – 6
  • Minor Debris – 32
  • No Damage – 104

*We only had 153 of the 280+ Posts report after the storm.

Support Received from 29 Departments

Alabama
California
Colorado
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine

Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
Ohio

Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Wisconsin
West Virginia
Germany

Hurricane Relief Items Delivered

  • Post 25, Lake Placid
  • Post 38, Ft Myers
  • Post 113, Rotonda West
  • Post 136, St James City
  • Post 159, Venice
  • Post 254, North Port
  • Post 303, Bonita Springs
  • Post 323, Lehigh Acres
  • Auxiliary Unit 336, North Ft Myers
  • Post 351, Ft Myers Shores

NEED SUPPORT / ASSISTANCE?

Individual Support

The American Legion Family has been working to provide assistance and relief to all those affected by the hurricane. Our Disaster Preparedness Committee has been busy mobilizing supplies and services to affected areas. We want you to know that we’re all in this together!

The American Legion has programs and are benefits of your membership to assist you during this challenging time! We want to make sure you are aware of and utilizing the resources that are available to you. Visit our website for a full list of support and resources: www.floridalegion.org/relief


Post Support

Hopefully by now you have started to evaluate and assess the damages at the Post, but we wanted to offer a few suggestions to help.

  • Be sure to review the Post’s insurance policy or contact your representative. Hopefully, by now, you have had an adjuster come out to determine the total cost of damages incurred. Please report to Department the total damages to the Post and how much insurance will cover.
  • Utilize the National Emergency Fund to potentially receive up to $10,000 for Post damages. A District or Department Officer will be required to assist you in this process. They will need to provide an assessment outlining loss and impacts on the community. The funding is not a replacement for insurance. Application link: https://www.legion.org/emergency
  • If you need hurricane relief items at your Post, please contact Department. Tell us a list of supplies that are needed, and whether you have a secured location to store them for distribution to your membership.
  • Department has an online fundraising platform that the Post can utilize to collect online donations to aid in the recovery of your Post. Department will not solicit funds on your behalf nor is it responsible for restoring the Post. However, you can share this platform with your friends, family, and local community to help cover your Post’s costs. All funds generated on your fundraising page are entirely for the Post. Department will not charge you any fees associated with your efforts. Don’t pay high fees to other platforms, such as Go Fund Me.

The Florida Legion Family will eventually restore our buildings and preserve the memories we share. In the end, we will come out stronger from working together as one team with one dream!

HOW YOU CAN HELP…

Monetary Donations

Phase 2 of our relief efforts has officially begun. Our Chairman, Bill, would like to encourage monetary donations to the Department’s Hurricane Relief Fund so we can fill the true need of each area. We are finding that the affected areas need different items, therefore making monetary donations helps ensure we get the right items to the right areas.

Donations can be accepted through our website (www.floridalegion.org/aid) or mailed to our Department Headquarters using the address below. Please make checks payable to The American Legion, Department of Florida, and include “Hurricane Relief” in the memo line.

The American Legion, Department of Florida
Attn: Hurricane Relief
1912A Lee Road
Orlando, FL 32810

Phase 2 – Hurricane Relief Items

We understand that many like to provide physical items, so the list below focuses on building and cleaning supplies as these are currently the most requested items. Unneeded items only clog up our limited storage space.

  • Chain or hand saws
  • Utility gloves
  • Tools (shovel, rake, ax, pry bar, trimmers, etc.)
  • Drills & drill bits (battery operated)
  • Plywood (5/8″ or roofing thickness)
  • Nails or grabber screws
  • Peel and stick roofing materials
  • Tongue & groove wood panels
  • Roofing shingles
  • Cement drywall (Durock)
  • Tarps
  • Utility buckets
  • Dust masks
  • Cleaning supplies (disinfectant wipes, dust rags, bleach, liquid detergent, brooms, mops, etc.)
  • First aid items (bandages, antibacterial ointment, gauze, medical tape, aspirin, rubbing alcohol, etc.)
  • Hygiene items (shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc.)
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Children’s toys or activities
  • Packaged undergarments and socks (all sizes)
  • Rubber or work boots

Volunteers

Our Disaster Preparedness Committee has teamed up with Cajun Navy Ground Force, a nonprofit organization that assists with disaster recovery. They provide an effortless way for volunteered citizens to help neighboring communities during the crisis aftermath caused by natural disasters. Their volunteers go into the most impacted and devastated areas to check on individuals and assist with removing and cleaning up the damage. They are always looking for more volunteers to assist with cleanup, cook meals for the community or provide medical attention for injuries. If you’d like to sign up to help Floridians rebuild through this combined effort, please visit volunteer.gocajunnavy.org.

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