'People are amazing': Woman wades through floodwaters to check on stranger’s 84-year-old mom

'People are amazing': Woman wades through floodwaters to check on stranger’s 84-year-old mom
Shirley Affolter was found safe and dry at her home in Englewood, Florida (#HurricaneStrong/Facebook)

ENGLEWOOD, FLORIDA: Florida residents are suffering the effects of Hurricane Ian, which struck southwest Florida on Wednesday, September 28, causing a dramatic increase in flooding and destruction. When Christine Bomlitz learned of the hurricane's devastation, she became concerned for her Florida-based mother, who is 84 years old. It had been a while since she had last spoken to her.

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Bomlitz, who was stuck on the other side of the country in Las Vegas, put out a call for help on social media, asking for assistance wherever she could. Before the storm, Bomlitz's mother, Shirley Affolter, had lost her cell phone, so she had no way to contact her. Unfortunately, the storm and bad weather caused her landline to stop working. She also waited for an evacuation truck during a storm, but it never reached her. Fortunately, the series of terrible days came to an end when a kind stranger knocked on her door on the afternoon of September 29.

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Cheynne Prevatt, 26, experienced damage to her own house as a result of the storm. However, the Florida resident ventured through chest-deep flooding in order to look for Affolter. The mother was isolated from her neighbors and the rest of her community due to flooding in Englewood, Florida. She needed a walker to go around, so she couldn't escape on her own.

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There was a relief as Prevatt entered the house to find Affolter still alive and secure. "I didn't know who she was, but she was really kind of surprised to see me," Prevatt remarked to Today. Bomlitz's concerns were allayed by the brief phone conversation between the mother and daughter. Her mother's hearing aids had broken down, so their talk had to end.

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Prevatt was still able to email her a picture of her mother smiling and in good health. Bomlitz said, "I'm thankful for this stranger. A total stranger. People are amazing." Hurricane Ian has come out as very destructive as Prevatt herself had weathered the storm at home.

A palm tree crashed through the roof of Prevatt's home during Hurricane Ian, ripping off the roofing and forcing a section of the ceiling to collapse. "Our house didn't really make it. All of our stuff is packed up, and we are trying to go to my grandmother's house," she said. 

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Prevatt's made the decision to visit Bomlitz's mother in spite of all the destruction. She said, "We're going to go back for her. That was the main goal, to make sure she was still alive." This didn't end here as Bomlitz needed to find a means to assist her mother in leaving the location, so she kept requesting assistance. She pleaded to anyone who had a boat to take her mother and other residents of the neighborhood to safety. Later on Thursday, Affolter was brought to dry land by a paddleboard.

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