What are the plans for the Hurricane Iana Memorial Wall five months after the hurricane
Fort Myers, Florida. Tuesday marks five months since Hurricane Ian hit southwest Florida, washing away homes, businesses and hundreds of lives.
While our coastal communities are still working to recover from the storm, they are also still mourning the loss that changed their lives forever.
“It’s really the inspiration behind it – it’s just an attempt to help family members, an attempt to help a community that is still grieving to this day.”
Five months after Hurricane Yang, the Fort Myers community continues to recover.
“I gave the community a canvas and let them express their grief however they saw fit, and what they created was something really special and memorable.”
Just a few days after the hurricane, a memorial wall appeared in Centennial Park downtown. Countless photographs of those affected by the storm are posted on the wall, along with flowers, in memory of those who died. Leo Soto is its founder.
“That’s why I think it’s so important that these memorials exist – they put a face behind all the numbers of victims,” said Leo Soto, founder of the Wall of Hope foundation. “You really see that behind every single person who has lost their life is a family. those who suffer and continue to suffer.
The memorial wall stood in the Centenary Park, it was demolished shortly before the start of the new year. Two months later, and the city still has plans for a more permanent memorial.
“Something about a permanent memorial or something like that, I don’t know,” says Soto. “But I’m more than willing to participate.”
A spokesman for the city of Fort Myers told us that photographs of the memorial had been taken and that they would be displaying them in various city buildings. We contacted on Tuesday to see if there were any updates to these plans but have yet to receive a response.
“I have a lot of ways we can work on to make things permanent by using lots of high quality artificial flowers that will give the community the freedom to not have to worry about dying flowers,” Soto said. “Essentially preserving the memory and idea of the original wall of hope, while maintaining the beauty and honor that the victims deserve.”
Soto is very open to the idea of helping the city create a permanent memorial. Help the community in any way to continue to remember and heal.
“I am very aware and understand that things may not happen so quickly, but as long as there is a plan and as long as there is a path that we can follow, that is all you can really ask for.”
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