Juan Cardona and his mother Juana Ramirez sit on the bow of a boat as they are ferried across flood waters to check on their home on Saunders Avenue in Bonita Springs on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, four days after Hurricane Irma. This was the first time they were able to return to their home after the storm. 

Juan Cardona and his mother Juana Ramirez sit on the bow of a boat as they are ferried across flood waters to check on their home on Saunders Avenue in Bonita Springs on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, four days after Hurricane Irma. This was the first time they were able to return to their home after the storm. 

 

Hurricane Irma made landfall in Southwest Florida on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.

While most areas were largely affected by tree debris and structural damage, pockets of Bonita Springs were covered by feet of water for more than a week. Residents banded together to help one another, grouping up along Quinn Street, which received some of the worst of the flooding. One man piloted a boat to ferry people to their homes. Others kayaked, canoed or simply trudged through waist-high flood waters to salvage any personal belongings they could. As soon as the water receded, they grabbed hammers and pry bars and gutted homes where mold had
overtaken walls.

Like other great disasters before it, Irma left a mark on the communities that will be felt for years to come. 

 
  The five streets that make up the Quinn Street area in Bonita Springs remain flooded on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, six days after Hurricane Irma. This is the second time in two weeks that the neighboring Imperial River flooded the residential area. 

The five streets that make up the Quinn Street area in Bonita Springs remain flooded on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, six days after Hurricane Irma. This is the second time in two weeks that the neighboring Imperial River flooded the residential area. 

  Fish swim along the bottom of a flooded Pawley Avenue in Bonita Springs on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, five days after Hurricane Irma. 

Fish swim along the bottom of a flooded Pawley Avenue in Bonita Springs on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, five days after Hurricane Irma. 

  A toilet sits on the bottom of a bedroom floor at Tracy Hanlon's home on Pawley Avenue in Bonita Springs on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, five days after Hurricane Irma. The Hanlon's already had the drywall cut on the bottom half of their house because of flooding from Hurricane Harvey passing along the coast two weeks prior.

A toilet sits on the bottom of a bedroom floor at Tracy Hanlon's home on Pawley Avenue in Bonita Springs on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, five days after Hurricane Irma. The Hanlon's already had the drywall cut on the bottom half of their house because of flooding from Hurricane Harvey passing along the coast two weeks prior.

  Jose Rangel walks from his home after seeing it for the first time on Chapman Avenue in Bonita Springs on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, five days after Hurricane Irma. The only things Jose and his roommates took from the house were rosaries and the photo of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

Jose Rangel walks from his home after seeing it for the first time on Chapman Avenue in Bonita Springs on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, five days after Hurricane Irma. The only things Jose and his roommates took from the house were rosaries and the photo of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

  Dave Stroshein helps his wife Linda through the flood water and debris at Citrus Park in Bonita Springs on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, three days after Hurricane Irma. The Stroshein's came back to check on their home for the first time since the storm, which was luckily still standing. 

Dave Stroshein helps his wife Linda through the flood water and debris at Citrus Park in Bonita Springs on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, three days after Hurricane Irma. The Stroshein's came back to check on their home for the first time since the storm, which was luckily still standing. 

  A damaged trailer remains untouched at Citrus Park in Bonita Springs on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, three days after Hurricane Irma. 

A damaged trailer remains untouched at Citrus Park in Bonita Springs on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, three days after Hurricane Irma. 

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Dave Stroshein inspects the flooding in his shed at Citrus Park in Bonita Springs on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, three days after Hurricane Irma. “I expected it to be gone,” he said of his trailer. “Entirely. I can tell it got a little beat up, but I can live with it.”

  Don Manley, left, and Pedro Castellano, right, pull Manley's boat, loaded with resident's belongings, along a flooded Chapman Avenue in Bonita Springs on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, five days after Hurricane Irma. 

Don Manley, left, and Pedro Castellano, right, pull Manley's boat, loaded with resident's belongings, along a flooded Chapman Avenue in Bonita Springs on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, five days after Hurricane Irma. 

  Trophies sit in a flooded container in the backyard of Rosa Sanchez's home on Pawley Avenue in Bonita Springs on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, four days after Hurricane Irma. 

Trophies sit in a flooded container in the backyard of Rosa Sanchez's home on Pawley Avenue in Bonita Springs on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, four days after Hurricane Irma. 

  Flood waters fill the streets of Imperial Bonita Estates, a mobile home park, in Bonita Springs on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, six days after Hurricane Irma.

Flood waters fill the streets of Imperial Bonita Estates, a mobile home park, in Bonita Springs on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, six days after Hurricane Irma.

  Don Manley sits for a quick break after helping residents load their belongings onto his boat along the flooded Quinn Street area in Bonita Springs on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, five days after Hurricane Irma. Manley ferried residents to their flooded homes since Sept. 12th. 

Don Manley sits for a quick break after helping residents load their belongings onto his boat along the flooded Quinn Street area in Bonita Springs on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, five days after Hurricane Irma. Manley ferried residents to their flooded homes since Sept. 12th. 

  Residents of Everglades City sing songs together during a prayer service in front of Everglades Community Church on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.

Residents of Everglades City sing songs together during a prayer service in front of Everglades Community Church on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.

  Boot tracks mark the dried mud on the floor of Everglades Community Church on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, one week after Hurricane Irma. 

Boot tracks mark the dried mud on the floor of Everglades Community Church on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, one week after Hurricane Irma. 

  Residents of Chokoloskee pray together during a service at Chokoloskee Church of God on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.  Pastor Rev. Lynnette Morris, who preached in white crabber boots, told the crowd that “not only are you swamp tough, but you’re Jesus tough.”

Residents of Chokoloskee pray together during a service at Chokoloskee Church of God on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.  Pastor Rev. Lynnette Morris, who preached in white crabber boots, told the crowd that “not only are you swamp tough, but you’re Jesus tough.”

 

Southwest Florida communities reflect on their needs after Hurricane Irma.