PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.- Next Wednesday marks 10 years since Hurricane Charley roared into parts of Southwest Florida, causing billions of dollars in damage, especially in Charlotte County. WINK News talked with 5 Charlotte Sun newspaper employees.
All spoke of their amazement at the devastation left by Charley. They recall people looking dazed when they tried to comprehend the extent of the damage.
But all were dedicated to one thing, in the moments after Charley cleared the area: Publish the newspaper and get the information on damage out to the public.
"We moved to our Murdock office and published from there that first night and morning right after Charley hit. We got the paper to people, with reporters handing out copies to folks on the street," recalls executive editor Chris Porter. "I am so proud of what our staff did. That was priority: make sure our people are safe, and then immediately, get to work and ge the paper out!"
Christy Feinberg remembers being petrified during the storm. "I don't like thunderstorms, don't like wind. So it was very stressful. This was terrifying. I never want to go through that again," she tells WINK News.
The Sun never missed an edition in the weeks and months that followed Charley. Porter recalls having to force some people to take time off, because the stress was too much for them. It took about 18 months for things to get back to some semblance of normal in the community, Porter remembers.
The Sun will mark Charley with a special edition next week. The paper's coverage in 2004 was so outstanding, it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the highest honor in print journalism.