FORT MYERS BEACH
A new lease on life for a 40-year-old Naples man who had nowhere to go after Hurricane Ian thanks to a lease from FEMA.
Thanks to the federal agency and the Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina on Fort Myers Beach, Michael Spoor was one of the first to move into the resort through FEMA’s rental assistance.
“You want to sit down and open a bottle and kind of deal with it like that. But every person deals with trauma in their own way,” said Spoor.
Spoor’s new lease on a temporary home gave him a new lease on life because it seemed like all hope had expired for a while.
“During the hurricane is traumatic,” Spoor said.
Spoor was spared during Hurricane Ian. He rode out the storm at his home just south of Lakes Park, eight miles from Fort Myers Beach.
He watched as the water rose and begin to trap him. “As soon as I saw that, that water touch, you know, getting to a certain altitude, I knew that it was going to be something serious.”
As much as the storm seemed like a bad dream, the real nightmare was living with what it had left behind.
“For three weeks, I stayed in my apartment while the mold has grown around,” said Spoor.
Suddenly, Spoors’ doors swung open. He had to get out. “Knowing that the mold was going to take time to grow. I was able to salvage what I could. But I had no vehicle.”
Spoor applied for help from FEMA, but he hadn’t heard back and made his way by train from Jacksonville to Massachusetts before he got the call.
“I was actually staying at my sister’s house, and she’s in the process of getting evicted. So that came at the perfect time for me because I had nowhere else to go,” Spoor said.
The call told him that his new home would be pink.
“I must have been one of the first few people that were actually able to come to the Pink Shell.”
Through FEMA’s rental assistance program, Spoor walked through a new door at the Pink Shell Beach Resort on the north side of Fort Myers Beach.
That was in December, and that was the first time since the storm that Spoor was able to pour his heart out. “To be able to really have an opportunity to decompress. Shed a couple of tears. Thanks for these walls.”
These days, the view from the Pink Shell has given Spoor a new view of life.
“When God closes a door on you, it’s not necessarily closing the door. So maybe more correcting your path. And that’s the way I feel. Maybe through all this with Hurricane Ian, the experiences that I have, maybe I can even turn that around.”