On Sept. 28, Hurricane Ian made landfall as a powerful Category 4 storm along Florida’s southwest coast. Maximum sustained winds of 150 mph were recorded when the storm hit Cayo Costa, near Fort Myers.
With 146 deaths in Florida, Ian made history as the deadliest hurricane to strike the state since the 1935 Labor Day hurricane. Ian caused catastrophic damage, with losses estimated to exceed $50 billion. Much of the destruction was from flooding brought about by a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet. Fort Myers Beach was particularly hard hit.
Today, mounds of debris line the streets and blue tarps cover the roofs of the homes still standing. As residents work to put their homes and lives back together, they find themselves in need of necessities, many of them having lost everything.
Wanting to help, Cat Footwear donated 600 pairs of Cat Work Boots to distribute to hard-hit people in the area and turned to Ring Power and Kelly Tractor, the Cat dealer for South Florida, to help with the logistics.
On Dec. 6, a team of employees from Ring Power, Cat Footwear and Kelly Tractor set up a distribution center in the parking lot of a Fort Myers Beach shopping plaza that had been damaged by Ian. Since the storm, this parking lot has served as a disaster relief center where residents and crews come for water, food, cleaning supplies and other necessities.
From residents whose only shoes were the ones on their feet, to construction workers who had been wading through water and stepping on nails and debris for weeks, everyone was eager to receive a brand new pair of sturdy, clean and dry Cat Work Boots!
People began lining up to get theirs long before the center’s scheduled opening time of 10:30 a.m. and within a few short hours all 600 pairs of work boots had been donated to the extremely grateful crowd.