Returning to Key Largo after Hurricane Irma swept through our beloved islands, we saw that our first floor had held roughly 3 feet of water as the surge washed over the coral rock and inundated the mangroves growing alongside the house.
We had taken all of the necessary precautions to hopefully secure our freezer full of food, and it paid off. We had raised the freezer 1.5 feet by distributing cement bricks under the corners. The many milk-jug gallons of water we placed in the freezer when we anticipated a storm hit kept the food frozen for four days after the hurricane even with no electricity. Of course the saltwater ruined the freezer’s motor.
We knew our two major stores, Kmart and Publix, lacked electricity, as did most of the island. However, when we drove over to Kmart on a whim that luck might be with us, we encountered two very industrious people with brooms/rakes in hand, Heather Smith and Devonne Waters-Davis. Both were highly focused and attempting to clean up tree branches and assorted debris in the parking lot directly in front of the store despite the hot, humid mosquito-infested area. I am sure this part of work is not in their job descriptions.
These competent, engaged young women were both profusely sweating, but their smiles radiated two individuals who are totally confident, innovative and love working for Kmart. It is obvious they both take great pride in their managerial skills as well as being a part of our active, small community. Heather and Devonne both represent a significant force as part of the Kmart family and their parent company, Sears, should be extremely proud of their strong work effort.
Learning Heather and Devonne are Kmart’s Key Largo store managers, we asked if it would be possible to purchase a freezer in order to save our food. Without hesitation, they said yes. By flashlight, Devonne took my husband inside, he picked out the freezer and helper Robbie Gilbert, a recent graduate of Coral Shores High School, roll it out to our car and helped lift it in the trunk. He refused to take a tip. Heather said she would take cash or a check and keep it in the safe until electricity was restored and then we could pick up a receipt.
These three compassionate individuals make the world a little better through their humanitarian efforts.
Robin L. Sarantos, Key Largo