photo of Hurricane Ian flooding

Jamie Wilson is a project engineer for Barraco and Associates with an office in downtown Fort Myers, Florida.

And she came to work Monday morning like any normal week.

But of course, nothing about this week in southwest Florida is normal; not after Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc in the region last week, taking lives and destroying infrastructure.

“I think I’m still in shock over it all,” Wilson said. “I don’t even know how to react. It’s heartbreaking to see. And all you want to do is just try to help.”

Wilson’s office regained power Sunday, and she was helping colleagues clean up the parking lot. She grew up in Fort Myers, attending North Fort Myers High School and college at nearby Florida Gulf Coast University. Severe weather is part and parcel of living there. Even still, Ian was different.

“I’ve been through other hurricanes. I was here for Charlie and Irma. So some of the hurricane impacts weren;t surprising – like the power outages. What was more shocking was seeing some of our local coastal communities like Fort Myers Beach. The majority of the buildings, marinas, and piers are completely gone, washed away. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Wilson said. “My family and I  were just there at a marina that  now is significantly  damaged, even demolished. It’s just extremely heartbreaking.”

As a former president of the ASCE Florida Section’s Southwest Branch, Wilson also has been busy working with Florida Section leaders to coordinate relief efforts. Her branch was planning a fun Top Golf outing for October to raise scholarship money, but Wilson said they’re already looking at shifting that to a hurricane relief event.

“We’re just trying to get in contact with everybody we know, make sure everybody’s safe, and see what we can do to help our community rebuild,” Wilson said. “We’re all wanting to help however we can  for our community.”