She read the cry for help on Facebook and jumped to her aid by seeking out the elderly woman's house.
As the state of Florida deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, several stories of bravery are cropping up. People have helped those in need during the disaster and they continue to do so. A woman from Inglewood risked her own safety to check on an 84-year-old woman who couldn't be reached by her daughter. Christine Bomlitz was in Las Vegas when the storm hit the coast of Florida. She was growing restless because there was no word from her 84-year-old mother, Shirley Affolter, even after the storm passed. Affolter had lost her phone before the storm so there was no way for her daughter to know her well-being.
We live on the beach in Naples, Florida. We stayed through the Hurricane Ian. Thought I'd share a rather notable photo from the experience... pic.twitter.com/LziDWoVN78— Dixie Whatley (@bothcoasts) October 1, 2022
Bomlitz turned to social media to look for volunteers who could go and check on her mother, per NBC News. She wrote in a Facebook post, "Any of my FL friends know anyone in Englewood? I Need to check on my mom," on Thursday morning. She added in her Facebook post, "I called to have (a) well check, but who knows when that will be. The group she signed up to evacuate seniors did not get her so she rode it out by herself." By afternoon, Cheynne Prevatt, 26, responded to her post. Prevatt had her own home damaged by the hurricane. However, she walked into chest-high floodwaters in pursuit of Affolter.
EYE OF HURRICANE #IAN 🌀— Matt Devitt (@MattDevittWINK) October 4, 2022
One of the rarest shots you’ll ever see in Southwest Florida. The sun coming out in the eye of a near Category 5 hurricane. Note the stadium effect and curvature of the eye from this @WINKNews viewer’s home in Cape Coral. @iCyclone @spann @JimCantore pic.twitter.com/gv1DewHTEP
Flooding had blocked Affolter's access to her neighbors and the rest of her town in Englewood, Florida. She couldn't go away on her own as she relied on a walker. Affolter was meant to evacuate Lemon Bay Isles with other residents as part of an evacuation plan, but she was never picked up and was forced to stay in her manufactured house, per Associated Press. However, when Prevatt entered her home she was safe and sound. She told the outlet, "I didn’t know who she was, but she was really kind of surprised to see me."
The mother and daughter were able to talk briefly over the phone, which allayed Bomlitz's fears. Their talk was cut short, however, since her mother's hearing aids had failed. Nonetheless, Prevatt was able to send her a picture of her mother smiling. Bomlitz said, "I’m thankful for this stranger. A total stranger. People are amazing."
It will take time to rebuild Florida’s neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Ian, but no one will be left behind. We will fight to make sure that every Florida community has the resources they need to be made whole again.— Val Demings (@valdemings) October 2, 2022
Prevatt had also stayed at home during the storm. When a palm tree broke into the roof, Hurricane Ian pulled away shingles and collapsed in part of the ceiling. She said, "Our house didn’t really make it. All of our stuff is packed up, and we are trying to go to my grandmother’s house." She added that she was worried about the older woman and her main goal was " to make sure she was still alive. We’re going to go back for her," she added.
Bomlitz's cries for help lasted into Thursday as she sought someone with a boat to transport her mother and others in the neighborhood to safety. By the evening, a paddleboard had come to transport Affolter to dry land. The death toll from Hurricane Ian in Florida has risen to at least 72, according to ABC News. The Florida National Guard has rescued over 1,100 people till now.
This is a developing story, and we’ll update you as we learn more. Information about Hurricane Ian is swiftly changing, and Upworthy is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. You can get official alerts and updates on Hurricane Ian from the National Hurricane Center.