December 2022/January 2023 FCM Circle – Publisher’s Letter


Written by: Scarlett Redenius

There’s a rule for
Always write
preparing for
something to
happen. I tend not to follow
that rule in my publisher’s letter.
But this time it came back to
bite me—hard. Who would have
thought when we were preparing for
deliveries for our October/November
issue, a life-altering storm would come
to my hometown and leave such destruction,
nothing left, you can’t even believe your eyes, so many lives
affected—the loss of lives.
It was the scariest day and night of my life, and it would just
not end. I beat myself up over and over for letting our guard
down—we all did. We are told every year when a storm comes
there’s going to be storm surge. Who would have ever believed
the water would cover your rooftops—NO ONE!
I have gone back and forth on what was appropriate for this
issue. First you want to show the world what happened to your
town—it’s gone! And then you start attending funerals, helping
people pick up the pieces while still picking up your own.
Half my life I called Fort Myers Beach my home, where I raised
my kids and enjoyed nightly walks on the beach—the sunsets.
For so many years I worked on Sanibel Island and drove home
to Fort Myers Beach. Now they are destroyed.
All I could do is cry as soon as we crossed over the Fort Myers
Beach bridge. Shrimp boats piled high on top of each other,
local hangouts gone, nothing left, just sand. Everything that
had been there forever leveled. And everything new still
standing but flooded. Beachfront properties lined up next to
each other—no more.
It will take a long time to heal. But we will … and we will pick
up the pieces and move forward. I can’t say build back better
because in this case the old Florida charm is gone. You can’t get
that back. But you can build new and make new memories and
that is what we must do.

So many people love our city
and town, just like I do, and
the rebuilding has begun and
slowly the debris from all our
lives is being picked up—and
we are more than two months
out—but still a long way to go.
Hurricane Ian affected a lot of
towns in our great state and our
hearts go out to everyone and wish all a
speedy recovery.
I made the choice this issue to cancel our
Hurricane Ian stories. It’s just too much and frankly we all just
want to move forward and the further we get away from it the
closer we get to rebuilding our lives.
I’m never one to live in the past or dwell upon things out of my
control, but I felt it was so important to move on and make the
best out of things, especially at holiday times.
Even though most of us are still struggling in some sort of way,
I can’t wait to spend time, relax and hug my family. Life is
short and tragedies like this surely open your eyes.
I will never underestimate the power of hurricanes, the power
of human will and the power of communities that come
together to help one another. Complete strangers from all over,
to help us, leaving their own families and problems behind,
selfless people.
God is good and my belief in humanity has been restored. It’s
unfortunate it takes an event like this to remind you.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the firstresponders,
linemen, organizations and the average Joe that
came to our community’s rescue, immediately.
From all of us at Florida Country Magazine, Merry Christmas
and Happy New Year. #FloridaStrong