Winter Haven trucking company delivers clean water to Lee County hospitals, shelter after Hurricane Ian

Clean water is one of the biggest needs in the Fort Myers area as they recover from Hurricane Ian. A trucking company based in Winter Haven is working to fill that need by delivering thousands of gallons of water to hospitals and shelters.

Len Miller helped rescue people from the floodwaters in Wauchula last week after Hurricane Ian. He along with 20 other semi-truck drivers dropped everything and headed down to Lee County this weekend with nearly 150,000 gallons of clean water. 

At first glance, the Emergency Operations Center in Lee County may look more like a truck stop. Semi trucks can be seen lining the tarmac at the Buckingham Airfield in Lehigh Acres just about 10 miles east of Fort Myers. For the last few days, FEMA has been using the site to distribute supplies and find volunteers like Len to help get them what they need.

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"I was actually at home, you know, working on my yard and stuff and doing all the things we were doing. And they gave me a call and said can you come in? We got all this water to deliver, and I said, Sure, let's go," Len said.

Len didn't hesitate. It was the same case last Thursday when his neighborhood off East Main Street in Wauchula was partially underwater. He spent the day making multiple trips using his pick-up truck to transport his neighbors to dry land. 

"I just believe in helping people and so does my husband and so does my son," Len's wife Leslie Miller said. "We love this community. That's why we've never left."

It's the same sentiment he took with him as he headed to Lee County on Sunday.

"The people are just really great. And you can feel the anxiety and stuff and the desperation down here. I just came back from a Walmart that was way across town and saw a lot of the devastation like the yacht base was just destroyed, million-dollar boats sunk and on top of other boats. But the people are just grateful that you're down here helping them," Len said.

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He along with 20 other drivers with Indian River Transport Company loaded up trucks in Winter Haven each carrying up to 7,000 gallons of water. So far, he's made deliveries to hospitals, shelters and business.

"Until they can get their own water up and running, you know, you can't run a hospital or any kitchens, you know, shower without water, so we're here until they don't need us anymore," Len said.

He and the other drivers have been sleeping in the cabs of their trucks. He's not sure how long he'll be there, but said he's prepared to stay for however long they need him.