Mize, who is from Huron, Ohio, and Tolander, from Waterloo, Iowa, first met a week earlier after arriving in southwest Florida to be part of the hurricane relief efforts. They were assigned to deliver supplies in some of the hardest hit parts of the state.
Yet their presence meant more than the much-needed free relief items like tarps, bins, brooms, rakes, batteries, bleach and trash bags that filled their truck. Mize and Tolander also represented the reassurance that help would continue to be available as long as needed.
“We’re here where the Gulf [of Mexico] meets the Bay [of the Caloosahatchee River], so we got a double whammy,” Catherine Casby said. The storm surge, pushed by 160-mile-an-hour winds, destroyed so many of the homes around hers. Though damaged, her small house was still standing.