On today’s front page is a story about Lisa and Geno Miletti and they’ve been among the heroes post-Hurricane Irma.
Each weekend, they’re at the Big Pine Flea Market cooking for whoever needs a meal, no charge. We’re not talking just grilling hot dogs and burgers; they are serving multi-dish, healthy meals for those who still have so little following the Category 4 Sept. 10 storm.
The Milettis, like so many others, have stepped up where they see voids. “Everything was so busy originally, I had high hopes. It’s almost as if the pause button got hit,” Lisa says.
But she and Geno, a contractor, dove in deep, even moving from Tavernier to the Lower Keys specifically to be where those hardest hit by the hurricane live. That’s how committed they are to helping people get as whole as possible.
There are so many people like the Milettis. Since the hurricane, Lower Keys resident Michelle Adams has been doing yeoman’s work trying to hook up people in need with people who have what they need. The list of people like the Milettis and Adams goes on and on.
Since the devastating storm, we’ve seen a lot of good and bad. Among the bad: We’ve heard stories of some landlords jacking up rents because the housing market is so squeezed right now that the number of people needing homes far outweighs the inventory. We mean jacking rents just because they can, not because they need extra money to make repairs. That’s what insurance is for.
We’ve also seen some government stumbling, the most visible being something we’ve been writing about for a long time now: Disorganization in the debris-removal process.
Three days ago marked three months since Irma brought her wrath to the Florida Keys. No one was prepared for what this place would look like after the storm passed — not residents, not government officials, no one.
We’ve now been living in this post-hurricane world for 12 weeks and we as a community learned a lot about a lot of things. But our big takeaway is this: Our community has affirmed that it’s one where neighbor cares for neighbor in good times and bad. We lean on each other.
With all that’s wrong here due to the storm, the one thing that remains right is that the Florida Keys were, and still are, a giving community. People like the Milettis and Adams prove that every day.