Cape Coral man pays it forward after Hurricane Irma

It’s hurricane season. And when strong storms strike, the American Red Cross comes to help our community. Many of the people providing that aid are volunteers, including a person who as called to action after a major hurricane.

When Hurricane Irma threatened to destroy Paul Bonasia’s home in Cape Coral, he evacuated to a nearby emergency shelter. 

“There was nothing for me to do except evacuate,” Bonasia said. “One of the things I found initially with my experience with Hurricane Irma was finding out a lot about the Red Cross and meeting people from all over the country who volunteer.”

Bonasia’s personal experience inspired him to join hands with other volunteers and help people through crisis by joining the red cross.

The experience inspired him to join the hands helping people throughout the crisis. He said he looked for an opportunity to volunteer and called the Red Cross.

Following the hurricane season, Bonasia once again spent time inside an emergency shelter. But, this time, he did it as a Red Cross volunteer.

“With Hurricane Florence and went up to Virginia and then to North Carolina to a shelter there,” Bonasia said.

Bonasia was deployed to help Hurricane Florence evacuees and then another storm forced him into action.

I came back, and I redeployed to Hurricane Michael,” Bonasia said. “One of the few kitchens they had opened that could feed about 10,000 meals a day, and we would distribute the food out to the impacted areas.”

Bonasia said it was an incredibly fulfilling experience.

“Making sure everyone got fed, it was good,” Bonasia said. “It was very rewarding, so I was glad to spend the time.”

He said it is time well spent serving the community when people need it the most.

“People see the Red Cross coming, and they know that help is on the way,” said Jill Palmer, local American Red Cross director.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
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