Hey, Spike! finds former Summiteers facing hurricanes | SummitDaily.com

Hey, Spike! finds former Summiteers facing hurricanes

Miles F. Porter IV
Special to the Daily
Dick Cunningham's pool in Bonita Springs, Florida.
Special to the Daily |

Hurricanes come and go — kinda like residents in Summit County — often leaving lasting impressions.

People such as Geno and Kathy Garton, Pat and Jane Murphy, Lee Lucas, Bob Alster, Nancy Peterson, Dick and Mary Cunningham were Summiteers over the recent decades.

Another thing in common: They just went through Florida’s recent Hurricane Irma, the category 5 monster. Shortly before that, Kathy Holmes faced Hurricane Harvey down in Texas.

Facebook, emails and cellphone texts allowed most to get their personal stories out.

On his Facebook page, Geno reported:

“Our internet and phone are down, so communication is gonna be hit and miss for a day or two. Our house is fine. Some damage through out the park. Mostly carports and lanais. No injuries have been reported. Tree limbs everywhere and cleanup will take awhile.

“3:40 early Monday morning. The wind is howling here in Orlando. Appears the rain has stopped for a minute. Reports coming in from our park are good. Some damage being reported, nothing major yet reported, so good news there. Will hopefully go home later today as the wind subsides and Irma moves north. The eye went very close to being over our community. She is north of Orlando now.”

The former TV executive later noted:

“Alrighty then, things are slowly getting back to normal here. We were so fortunate to not have lost power during the last weeks storms. Yards have been cleaned. Those here know how lucky we were to not have experienced the damage and destruction as our Floridians in the Keys, the Gulf Coast, and along the Atlantic.”

Jane and Pat Murphy, also former Friscoites, now living in Punta Gorda after a stint in Tucson, relayed their experiences with Irma on FB.

“Just got home. So grateful, so thankful everyone okay. Minimal damage. Exhausted and hungry,” Jane wrote after their stay with friend Alyson for two days.

“Each day that passes, we’re counting our blessings more and more. It would have been drastically different had we lived just 30 minutes in any different direction. Such a truly catastrophic situation. Hundreds of thousands still without power in 104 heat index, no water, a/c or food. Many many people may not have power for at least another week. Irma was hellacious and the months-long aftermath is looking to become incomprehensible for so many hundreds of thousands.

“Huge kudos go out to all the tens of thousands who have come to help. Florida Power and Light have 20,000 crews out there working endless shifts. Please continue to keep all those suffering such misery in your prayers.”

Former Breckenridge Photo Shop owner and photographer Lee Lucas had to leave his Duck Key home and First Love Charters base with wife Lynn.

Back home a few days later, they report:

“We are home and cleaning. And we are very fortunate. Downstairs is a moldy mess but our upstairs is dry. Our yard looks like everyone’s, which is not good, but let me repeat, we are two of the very lucky ones — a bed to sleep in, water and electric, and my darn wi-fi is working. My prayers are out there for those that did not come home to be as lucky. I just threw out a refrigerator and freezer full of food. Again, thanks to Dan Peterson and Becky Chambers Peterson.

“We are so much better off than others in the Keys. Now the work starts. We’re going to work together to rebuild the Keys to make them as good as they were — no, even better. Love to all the people who live in the Keys.”

Another Breck resident, Tina Cunningham, went home to her parents’ house in Bonita Springs. The Cunninghams produce the three annual Mountain Art Festivals in the Kingdom.

“Just wanted to let everybody know that everybody is fine,” Dick Cunningham reported. “We took a direct hit with the eye going directly over the house.”

Once home from Colorado, Dick found his gallery spared, but the river flooded the pool, while the house escaped flooding waters that stopped a couple inches from getting in. “We dodged a major bullet,” he said.

Bob Alster, formerly of Frisco, now calls Lake Worth home, a few miles from West Palm Beach.

He recently added $15,000 worth of hurricane windows and found they proved themselves capable. He stayed put inside his fourth floor condo in a concrete building.

Another ex-Friscoite, Realtor Nancy Peterson, reported from Vero Beach:

“We were very lucky again. A year ago Senor Matthew diverted 40 miles out from Vero Beach and them came back toward land as it headed north. Miss Irma was also aimed at us and wobbled over to the west. The Keys have so much damage and then she went up the West Coast. Such a huge storm — we had big impact over here, but mostly trees, branches, power outages, wi-fi out. It could have been much worse. Watching the winds and rain from my porch was scary, especially when it went into the dark. It’s like a freight train roaring outside, then in mid-morning — 9/11/17 — the sun started peeking out. I only lost power for 16 hours and internet for 8 days; others, up to 100 hours. I still love it here where I grew up.”

Down in Corpus Christie, Texas, Kathy Holmes, a former Breck resident, is now a plans examiner for the city.

After Hurricane Harvey had passed, she took a drive over to Rockport to see a friend’s 100-plus-year-old home had survived.

“My parents’ old home came through with no damage. Even the mesquite I had planted for Mother’s Day years ago survived. Overall, the trip left me numb,” Kathy recalled.

Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949 and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to milesfporteriv@aol.com.

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