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Jeb Bush Commemorates 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Charley

Ashley Lopez

Former Governor Jeb Bush was in Punta Gorda Wednesday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Charley. The category four storm killed eight people in Florida and destroyed a large part of the state’s southwestern coastline.

Bush, who was governor at the time of the storm, met with local emergency workers in the Punta Gorda’s relatively new emergency operations center. Most of the people at this event helped get Punta Gorda, which sustained some of the worst damage in that storm, and neighboring small towns back on their feet after the hurricane in 2004.

Bush said at the time both Charlotte County and the state weren’t fully prepared for the storm. However, he said dedicated law enforcement, emergency personnel and residents all pitched in to help the area recover.

“What will also last as a memory for me was how in the aftermath of the storm how this community responded to help one another,” he said. “It’s something that is so special that didn’t happen in every storm and I’ll leave it at that.”

Florida’s Agriculture Chief Adam Putnam also attended the event. He said at the time he was living in central Florida, which was also damaged by the storms high winds. Like Bush, Putnam also praised those who worked to put the state back together.

“No matter what horror and fury nature unleashes the better angles of our nature are who showed up,” he said. “And they are represented by the men and women in public service in this room and this community and communities throughout the state that showed up to help one another.”

The storm also made its unexpected and sudden landfall in Lee County before moving up the coast and inland. It caused about $13 billion in damage and even prompted a visit from President George W. Bush.

Ashley Lopez is a reporter forWGCUNews. A native of Miami, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree.
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