On Saturday morning September 9th with the prospect of Hurricane IRMA looming on the horizon I checked into the Collier County Emergency Operations Center in East Naples. During disasters I sit in the ESF 18 seat (Business & Industry) and represent both if any decisions need to be made during a disaster. The E. O. C. was humming as everyone ran through
their check lists and made sure all preparations were done as IRMA continued churning towards us.
I have been through 10 storms with the County’s Emergency Operations Manager and as we know Dan Summers is a true professional. It goes without saying that there are about 100 people going about their business that you may never know, but your safety and well being were in their hands and they did their jobs. As the storm intensified tension rose in the E.O.C. as it became very clear we were in for a direct hit and subsequent predicted storm surge of 10 to 15 feet. As the storm reached us you could hear the winds through the heavy concrete walls.
When the eye passed over us I went up to the roof and stood there in total silence as the storm whirled around me, an
amazing and a once in life time experience. When the bottom half of the storm broke up and we didn’t get the anticipated
high storm surge we all gave a sigh of relief. On Tuesday I left the County E.O.C. and headed to the city of Naples E.O.C. where I helped out until Saturday morning. City residents have reason to also be proud of City Manager Bill Moss and all departments who have worked tirelessly to get our city back to normal.
Something else that you may not know is that our own Clark Hill GM at the Hilton Hotel opened his doors so that an
emergency command center for the Naples Police, Naples Fire and Rescue, the two newscasters from the Weather Channel in Atlanta, and Mayor Bill would have a safe environment to work out of. Tom Donahue, Hilton Food and Beverage Manager and Shula’s GM worked to ensure all guests’ needs were met and made everyone as comfortable as possible.
So many people who worked tirelessly and off the radar doing the right thing for our community. It reminds us that
instead of dwelling on what is not yet ideal, let’s work on “Pathways and Bridges” as we work together moving forward.