Polk County rallies around deputies who lost homes

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It is going to be hard to forget Hurricane Irma. But two Polk County deputies have especially strong memories of the storm -- they lost their homes in it.

During the storm, Deputy Jessie Cortez worked at Kathleen High School, which was being used as a shelter. He took it as a bad sign when he saw a call from his wife. When she told him what had happened to their house, he was shocked.

“My heart dropped to my stomach,” he told FOX 13. “I was speechless.”

High winds had ripped off panels from the side of his mobile. In one area, you could see right into the house.  Water poured in and destroyed everything it soaked.

Deputy Robbie Meacham’s house didn’t fare well either. Thousands of dollars’ worth of belongings are gone forever.

“They had 19 years’ worth of life together, and they were able to fit it into an 8-by-10 trailer,” said Carrie Eleazer, Polk Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.

Unfortunately, the Meachams didn’t have any renter’s insurance, so they really are out of luck.

Both men and their families are living with relatives.

There is a fundraiser for the Cortez and Meacham families this Saturday on the football field of Fort Meade High School.  It runs from 4 to 8 p.m.