SANIBEL, Fla. — In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, hundreds are left without homes, power or access to major roadways. The destruction of the Sanibel Causeway alone left families stranded in Sanibel and Captiva — some of the areas hit hardest by the storm.
Now, a Tampa-area non-profit is stepping in to help our southwest Florida neighbors.
Project DYNAMO, a combat veteran-led rescue organization, said its volunteers brought four people to safety on Thursday, two from Sanibel and two from Saint James City. The group has more than a dozen rescue requests for Friday in Sanibel and Matlacha.
The non-profit said it also offered help to about 30 people on North Captiva who chose to rely on their generators and gathered supplies to stay behind and rebuild their community.
Project DYNAMO is joining the efforts of first responders who have rescued more than 700 people in Charlotte and Lee counties, Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Thursday. Operations got underway as soon as it was safe for first responders to do so Thursday morning.
If you've heard the name "Project DYNAMO" before, it may be because it's the group responsible for making nearly 700 rescues during the Russian war in Ukraine. They've also been conducting dangerous missions to bring home Americans who were facing Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
Privately run by civilians and funded by donations, the non-profit is dedicated to saving Americans facing humanitarian crises around the world.
"The organization is made up of volunteers, many of which are current and former members of the U.S. military, who have worked extensively as a part of and with the special operations and intelligence communities," Project DYNAMO said back in March.
Project DYNAMO gets its name from "Operation Dynamo," which was the codename used for the Dunkirk civilian evacuation effort during WWII.
Those requesting evacuations can fill out a Hurricane Ian rescue and assistance request form with Project DYNAMO by clicking here.
You can click here to learn more about Project DYNAMO and ways to support the group.