One week has passed since Hurricane Irma began picking a fight with our beloved island. We are glad to report that the bitch did not win. Life in Key West has not been easy for us over the past seven days. Together, we faced many challenges and overcame countless obstacles. We have witnessed the best of our island community: friends, neighbors and strangers looking out for one another.
Our 1890’s cottage on Olivia Street suffered no damage—although waves of our neighbor’s trees are resting on our fence. As we checked on the places of our friends, neighbors and clients, we found intact homes waiting for their families to return. Texting them images of their standing strong houses brought us a joy we will never forget.
CNN may be reporting that 90% of Key West’s structures are damaged or destroyed, but that is not true. Very, very few of the island’s buildings are in bad shape—and most have gone unscathed. Trees are down everywhere, but our endless summer will breathe new life into our once beautiful tropical canopy.
As our hearts ache for those in the Middle Keys that have lost their homes and livelihoods, the residents of Key West will be here to help them rebuild their lives. As evacuees begin their journey back home, we will welcome them with open arms.
Our corner of paradise might be temporarily down, but it is not out. As Mark Twain said, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
—Dean & Keith Townsend, Grateful Key West Citizens