SJN Community Comes Together During Hurricane Aftermath


Cleanup at Melissa Jacoby’s House

Weeks after Hurricane Ian made his way through Southwest Florida we are still seeing people deal with damages. This level 4 hurricane surprised many as it turned towards Fort Myers and Naples only a few days before its arrival. Here at St. John Neumann, we are saddened by the loss of many homes and lives. As a community we are working together to rebuild our city. 

I interviewed Melissa Jacoby to get an insight on her family’s experience during the hurricane. 

How has Ian Impacted Your Family? 

When my family and I heard the news about the hurricane, we were terrified. We immediately knew we would have to evacuate. As the hurricane came closer to land, my family packed what we could and had to say goodbye to everything. I was unsure if I would have a home to come back to. Fifteen years of memories were all washed away by the hurricane. Our house’s first floor was completely flooded, sand piled on the floor, and most of our belongings were lost. I would never have thought this could happen. 

What was Your Experience During the Cleanup Process? ( The Aftermath)

The clean-up process was very emotional. I saw all of my memories being thrown out. I am very grateful to have good friends and family who were willing to help. Many people came together to help my family during this hard time. I have witnessed God through the people who immediately came to my family’s side. Everyone willing to help the affected areas is God’s light.

How Do You Look at Things Differently Now?

I’ve learned to not take the little things for granted anymore. I will never forget to appreciate what I have. Running water and having a bed to sleep in is something I think everyone takes for granted. This experience truly opened my eyes to how fortunate I am. 

Mario Werab, a senior at SJN, was one of many students who volunteered his time to help the victims of hurricane Ian. Mario shared a little about his time helping Melissa’s family:

“It was extremely sad seeing their belongings that are very important to them get thrown away. Their first floor was ruined by the water and they would never get those pieces back. This experience showed me that our community will come together during hard times. Students from school came out to show Melissa that we are here for her. Throughout this process I learned to cherish what I have.”