Relief mission continues for residents in Key West

KEY WEST, FLA. (WSVN) - Crews continue to clean up and help residents with essential giveaways across the Florida Keys.

Members of the National Guard and Salvation Army have set up sections designated as distribution sites. About 1,700 cars travel to the main distribution site in Key West daily.

Miami-Dade and Broward businesses also sent about 20 trucks stocked with supplies for those in need.

“To have help come from the north really means a lot, so we’re very, very thankful,” said Key West resident Terry Axford.

“We’ve had 20 trucks with supplies. We started in Marathon and have been dropping off at points of distribution down through Key West,” said Florida State senator Anitere Flores, who represents the Keys.

However, the people in Cudjoe Key are just as tough as the rugged street names in the area like Cutthroat Drive and Blackbeard Lane.

“All I see is water. The water was up to the top of that block,” said Mark Atherley who helped rescue his neighbors.

Atherley and his wife Betty toughed it out at home in their house. Everything was fine at their house but not so much for their neighbors.

Their neighbors across the canal had their roof blown off and took shelter with the Atherleys.

Atherley said he screamed for his neighbors to get into a rubber boat and cross. “So he got in the boat, and they paddled over with some sticks,” he said.

Hurricane Irma cut through the city and hit spots like Sugar Loaf Key, as well. The school there was used as a storm shelter and distribution center for those who need it.

“Those kind of people need shelter,” said Jennifer Green, a Sugar Loaf Key resident. “They may need shelter for some weeks while their homes are evaluated and repaired.”

Back at the Key West distribution center, crews have been handing out meals ready to eat as well as ice and water.

“We got together a few days ago and came together with the community of South Florida,” said Randy Moller of the Florida Panthers. “We were able to fill 20 big trucks full of water and supplies to bring down here to Monroe County.”

“It was something that we put together in about 24 hours with the Florida Panthers. We had to drive over the weekend — Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We’ve collected over 80 pallets of goods,” said Gregg Snowden of South Florida Ford.

While the Keys continue to recover, Florida Governor Rick Scott will visit Monroe County on Wednesday along with Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson.

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