Southwest Florida residents work to clean up after tornado



Rob Oudkerk is a pretty tough guy.

He weathered Hurricane Irma in 2017.

But when he saw what tornado EF1 did to his backyard when it hit Eagle Ridge Community on Tuesday, he let loose a curse.

He looked at his crumpled lute.

“Dollar signs,” he said. “Exactly, dollar sign.”

This is not a cheap or easy fix so he had to get to work early on Wednesday.

He saw the tree and took the branch away. He kept walking even though he had blood on his calf and a bandage on his ankle.

Oudkerk, the Dutchman, is determined not to let the plants win.

How does he like Florida?

“It’s all right,” he said, except to clear the storm.

While the tornado caused hundreds of dollars in damage, residents south of Fort Myers were grateful it wasn’t like the tornadoes in Kentucky.

On Twin Eagle Lane, the result is damage caused by trees and many homes with tarps on their roofs.

The Marco Patriots, an aid group that had just returned from helping in Kentucky, was so emotional that many people were thinking of Kentucky instead of their own damage.

John Bezdichek lost his mother and neighbor Evie in Hospice on Tuesday morning. On Wednesday morning, he went out to clean the house she loved so much.

“This is probably what she wanted us to do, everyone knew her by the pool, and to me, this is just one such family in Eagle Ridge,” Bezdichek said. “That’s why mom and dad bought a place 40 years ago, we bought our place 25 years ago.”

Bezdichek has been working from his home since 7 am. Neighborhoods are working to make their communities beautiful again.

“I think the people you hear them talking and laughing, working together, knowing nobody got hurt and putting things together, that’s what Evie wanted us to do,” he said.

Nearby, a group of people were returning with their belongings and refused to let a tornado get in the way of a round of golf.

“It’s night and day compared to yesterday,” said Dennis Thompson. “I mean, you couldn’t even get into the parking lot here yesterday. There have been fallen trees on the service line and tee box. “

Andres Rodriguez said while the tornado arrived with barely any warning they knew what to do.

“We got to safety immediately,” said Rodriguez. “Our wives made sure we got to safety immediately. My wife said fast, everyone come in, cats and all”.

Back to the golf course, a prediction.

“I would say within the next two weeks you wouldn’t know we even had a tornado go through, except for the missing trees,” Thompson said.

Copyright 2021 Fort Myers Broadcasting Company. Copyright Registered. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent. Southwest Florida residents work to clean up after tornado

Aila Slisco

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