Former Wonder Lake couple stranded by Hurricane Ian now have power – Shaw Local

Former Wonder Lake couple stranded by Hurricane Ian now have power – Shaw Local


The power came back on Sunday at Jim and Gloria Donahue’s Port Charolette, Florida, condo building, their daughter said.

The Donahues were long-time Wonder Lake residents before moving to Florida five years ago. On Thursday, their daughter Linda DiJoseph told the Northwest Herald that her parents were without power and trapped on the second level of their condo building after Hurricane Ian ripped through the region.

Now that the situation is less dire, DiJoseph, also of Wonder Lake, said Monday, she and her brother are giving her parents, both in their 70s, a couple of days to determine if they will fly back to Illinois for the time being.

“It has been a whirlwind of a week,” DiJoseph said.

After several days of spotty back and forth texting and limited cell phone calls, her brother was set to drive down and get their parents before the call came that the power was back, DiJoseph said.

On Saturday, she got a frantic call from her mother, she said. They were out of food and water, and her father, who uses supplemental oxygen, was showing signs of distress. Her brother, who lives in Johnsburg, was getting ready to drive down to Florida to get them.

Once the power was back on, the elevators were working again, and debris were cleared out of an open-air hallway, allowing the couple to get out and get groceries, DiJoseph said.

They also found a portable oxygen tank for her father — something they never thought about needing before, she added.

On Monday, a downstairs neighbor came over, took out the bedroom set that had been soaked by a leak in the roof, and then pulled out soaked carpeting.

That same downstairs neighbor also allowed the Donahues to move into their guest bedroom while they waited to see how much damage their unit has, DiJoseph said.

“People are stepping up to help other people out,” she said.

But if repairs to their unit, including possible mitigation to the water damage to prevent mold from forming, take longer than 24 to 48 hours, DiJoseph plans to fly her parents back to Illinois.

“They don’t want to leave,” she said.

Explaining the stress on the children, of not knowing if their parents would be OK staying in Florida, got her mother to relent, DiJoseph said.

Once their condo — which was rated to withstand up to a Category 5 hurricane — is ready for residents again, they will be getting an upgraded storm kit for future weather events, she added.

“We will have tarps, tarps for the mattresses, a small generator. … We will beef up their storm survival kit moving forward,” DiJoseph said.

Once her parents were able to charge their phones, they sent her photos from their window of the damage outside. It was not as severe as she had feared and not as bad as what she’s seen on the news for that region of southwest Florida, DiJoseph said. Their car, which was under a collapsed carport, did not flood and is drivable, too.

“Considering what was around them and their friends houses, … the building held up like a fortress,” DiJoseph said.

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