The Wachter Family’s Journey to Recovery

Vulnerable and Trapped: A Look at Those Lost in Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian struck the east coast of Florida on Wednesday. With winds of 140 miles per hour, it is likely to make landfall in eastern and southeastern Georgia.

But for some, the most devastating effects will likely be felt in the state hardest hit by it.

I found myself in one of those places after Hurricane Ian struck, as we found ourselves caught on the wrong side of the state line. I wanted to learn more about some of the people who will likely suffer the most.

I spoke with members of the North Carolin’s State Task Force to talk to them about their plan for storm recovery, and it was a frustrating conversation, to say the least.

Travis and Jessica Wachter of Columbus, Ohio, say they received a phone call from their elderly parents on Wednesday, informing them of the death of their father whom they had not heard from in a while.

“It wasn’t even one of the phone calls that were from my mom, it was from my dad,” Travis Wachter said.

The call came in while they were both on the couch with their two youngest children.

“He was, he sounds like he was out of it when he came in the door. He had said, ‘Dad, they’re not doing anything,’ and he said, ‘Dad, they’ve never moved you out,’ or something, and then he said, ‘Dad, they’re not doing anything.’ Just kept telling him that.”

The Wachter family were living in a rental unit in the same complex as their parents who were homeless. The entire complex was flooded and the water had risen to approximately 2 feet.

The family was moved after two days to a nearby town. They were given two days of food, and Travis said he was told he could have anything else that was in the refrigerator, but were not to worry about it.

And so the family got on a bus with their two youngest children, and headed to the local shelters.

Since then, the family contacted an organization that helps people displaced by natural disasters, asking if they could volunteer to serve and assist in the community.


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