Road to Recovery

Nov 28, 2017

Words and Photos by Carter Adams and Aaron Self

Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys on Sept. 10, leaving over 25 percent of homes destroyed, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency. Weeks later, recovery efforts remain in beginning stages. Along U.S. Route 1, the main road connecting the chain of islands, thousands of pounds of debris remain piled in containment zones waiting to be hauled away by contractors from the mainland. Boats, refrigerators and washing machines litter the berm of nearly every road from Key Largo to Cudjoe Key. Neighborhoods, such as the Avenues on Big Pine Key, were particularly devastated and still in the initial stages of clean up, a reflection on the long road ahead for the Keys and its residents.

A boat sits ran ashore near U.S. Route 1 across the road from the Scout Reservation on Scout Key. The boat has been featured in numerous media outlets, easily accessible along the shore. / Photo by Aaron Self

Camp manager Taylor Hunt and Program Director Cliff Freiwald of the South Florida Boy Scout Council stand in the remains of the camp meeting hall. The only intact piece of the building is the roughly 100,000-pound concrete slab that was the foundation. The flood waters picked up the slab and as the building twisted, driven by high winds, the entire structure crumbled. / Photo by Aaron Self

Charles Chappell, Big Pine Key resident of 18 years, walks through the destroyed second floor of his home on Oct. 21. Chappell and his late wife, Carol, retired to the Keys in 1999 to be closer to family. Chappell’s house was condemned by regional authorities due to excessive structural damage caused by Hurricane Irma, which struck the Florida Keys on Sept. 10. / Photo by Carter Adams.

Chappell walks through the destroyed second floor of his home on Oct. 21. / Photo by Carter Adams

Taylor Hunt poses for a portrait in front of a pile of rubble at the Camp Sawyer Edward B. Knight Scout Reservation in Big Pine Key. / Photo by Carter Adams

Debris rests along the shoreline of the Edward B. Knight Reservation Camp Sawyer Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. / Photo by Carter Adams