IRMA: Good Samaritan Village evacuated as community floods

By Stephanie Bechara, Osceola County Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, September 14, 2017, 8:53 AM EDT

Due to Hurricane Irma’s rain, Shingle Creek is at a historic level. It’s gone past 62 feet — and those levels are still projected to climb. The floods have forced a mobile home community of elderly people to be evacuated.

  • 450 seniors evacuated from Good Samaritan Kissimmee Village
  • Flooding from Shingle Creek at historic level
  • Osceola Council on Aging collecting donations
  • HOW TO HELP: Donate to Osceola REDI, Inc. (via PayPal)

People paddling their way to get around and farm animals on the loose... It's just not your typical Kissimmee.

“I am very worried,” said Michael Pierce.

Pierce, 69, lives at Good Samaritan Society: Kissimmee Village, but many of the homes there are underwater after Hurricane Irma.

This is why he is now calling the Osceola Council on Aging -- a special needs shelter, home.

“I don’t know where we would have gone. We can’t afford hotels,” he said. “I honestly don’t know... This is our life-saving group.”

About 450 seniors were evacuated from the mobile home community. They’ve been relocated to other shelters and more than 100 of them are now staying at the Osceola Council on Aging.  

“We stayed here, we didn’t sleep. But you know what, we do it because these people need us desperately,” said Carmen Carrasquillo, the Chief Operations Officer for Osceola Council On Aging. “And because we care and because we have a passion for what we do.”

Staff with the Council On Aging say it’s all a collaborative effort as many in the community have swung by the council to drop off donations.

“People step up to the plate and say we are coming forward,” Carrasquillo said, “We are helping. We’re going to give you a helping hand.”

The county said it is working on an assessment with other agencies to make sure these residents can come back to their homes. Pierce said he feels fortunate to be in good hands in the meantime.

“I am just hoping the water recedes and there’s not a whole lot of damage. I don’t know about the winds,” Pierce added. “I don’t think there were any tornadoes there. But I hope it goes down and everybody can get back in safely and everything. “

The county said the creek’s levels are being monitored in real time, but it is impossible to accurately predict when they will recede.

The Osceola Council on Aging is in need of monetary donations, blankets, snacks, water and adult wipes.

For more information on the Council on Aging, click here, including how to donate: http://www.osceolagenerations.org/