Airboaters Continue to Help Flood Victims

After providing transportation to and from the Park for nearly 6 hours Saturday, airboat volunteers arrived again today to shuttle residents, their insurance adjusters, members of FEMA and the Polk County Property Appraiser's Office - Disaster Team to and from the now island mobile home park.

Lake Wales, FL (PRWEB) October 7, 2004 -- Members of the Florida Airboat Association continue to assist the residents of the Peace Creek RV and Mobile Home Park, near Lake Wales gain access to their homes.

Since the only access to the Park, a nearly one mile winding paved road, was flooded-out by rain delivered by Hurricane Jeanne on September 26th, residents have been unable to reach their homes that now stand on an island.

Hurricane Jeanne dumped between 8-10 inches of water on already saturated Polk County, that had received direct hits by both hurricanes Charley and Frances not more than 6 weeks before. The rain from Hurricane Jeanne converted the sprawling green cattle pasture into a 1,500 acre shallow lake, laden with submerged fence lines, downed trees, floating vegetation and storm debris from the mobile home park.

Until Saturday, one week following their evacuation from the park ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Jeanne, residents could only stand at the Park's entrance off of US Highway 27 and stare across the new lake and wonder what condition their homes were in.

Learning of the situation, members of the Florida Airboat Association mobilized and volunteered the use of their time and their airboats to transport the Park's residents the nearly one mile across debris choked and contaminated water to the island where their homes now stand.

Park residents met the volunteer airboat pilots with mixed emotions. Grateful for the opportunity to inspect their homes, yet apprehensive about what they might find on the island. With anxiety high, Park residents boarded the airboats for the 2-3 minute ride to the new island.

After providing rides to and from the Park for nearly 6 hours on Saturday, airboat volunteers arrived again today to shuttle other Park residents to and from their homes, accompanied by their insurance adjusters.

In addition, to providing rides to the Park's residents the airboaters provided transportation to agents from the Polk County Property Appraiser's Office - Disaster Team and representatives from FEMA who inspected the property and offered assistance to those who where in need of it.

For many of both the Park's residents and FEMA represenatives, it was their first ride on an airboat. Park resident Robin Glasure described her first airboat ride as "the most exciting experience to come out of a disaster." Her husband Jim stated "If you have to experience a disaster a ride on an airboat is the way to do it."

The representatives from FEMA stated that after they go back and tell their co-workers about their airboat ride, "There will be a line of vehicles down Highway 27 waiting for their turn to ride."

Members of the Florida Airboat Association will continue to volunteer their time and make their airboats available to anyone who needs them, as long as necessary.

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