Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Evacuees Keep Eye on Home

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Evacuees Keep Eye on Home

Article excerpt


Wilma's powerful zip through South Florida Monday left evacuees who came here and others with ties to that area curious about damage. They were also relieved that they and loved ones escaped harm. Meanwhile, a former Jacksonville resident now living in Cancun gave a harrowing description of surviving the storm.


Victor Goulding, who turns 91 this week, is a decorated World War II veteran, a retired lawyer and once beat legendary poker player Amarillo Slim on a bluff. But as Wilma approached, the Fort Myers man had no desire to take on her challenge. Instead, he and his two Pekingese -- Mo and Millie -- took refuge in his daughter's Southside home.

"I've avoided a horrible storm. I want to live to be [91]. I have some good buddies there. I look forward to returning and seeing them in good order. I had a home in Miami Beach for a number of years, but we never encountered anything like what was going on today."


Tom Charde, 32, of San Marco spoke with his parents in Naples about 3 a.m. as Wilma came ashore. Though the storm left plenty of damage, Charde chuckled when told how the group reacted as the northern end of the eye passed through.

"The power was out and they had a bunch of people staying with them. One of them had a power adapter in their car and they ran out and made a couple of pots of coffee when the eye was over them. It could have been worse. It could have been a lot worse."


Ilsa Lefas, 64, and her daughter, Claudia, 31, were especially glad they evacuated their Bonita Springs homes after learning about the storm's punch from television reports Monday. Mother and daughter got rooms in a Jacksonville hotel and spent some time with family. They're ready to go back, as soon as power is restored.

"This is my first hurricane down in Florida. It's a little nerve-wracking," said Claudia Lefas, who moved from New Jersey last year. …

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