Highlands County was one of the hardest hit counties in the Tampa Bay Area from Hurricane Irma. As their neighbors to the west and towards the coast get back to a more life, Highlands county is still way behind in power and getting store shelves stocked.
“There are people on oxygen machines no power or course,” Louis Crouse said. Crouse lives in federal housing for the disabled and elderly. His neighbor lost everything when her ceiling came crashing down into her living room.
“For people that are elderly disabled we are traumatized,” Crouse said. “When people feel that feeling of hopelessness they crumble.”
Crouse said the management of Banyan Wood Apartments in Avon Park still haven’t put blue tarps over damaged roofs. He worries with more rain in the forecast the electrical systems could short circuit causing fires.
“These people couldn’t get out in a fire,” Crouse said. “These people are my family, and right now, even after Irma we still have serious problems that should be taken care of.”
Deputies with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office spent their Friday passing out food, water, and other supplies to the hardest hit areas. Two deputies that lost their homes were also out working to help people in need. A testament one deputy said to their selflessness to put the needs of other people above their own.
Deputies passed out the food late into Friday evening, until they ran out of food and water. They will be back out in hard hit areas over the next couple of days and weeks to pass out supplies.