MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Mexico Beach is getting ready to send a “Helping Hands” mural to two Southwest Florida communities as they begin to recover from Hurricane Ian.
Mexico Beach Mayor, Al Cathey, will never forget when a small brown package from New York City arrived on his doorstep just days after Hurricane Michael.
“I looked at it and I thought ‘My Lord, who do I know that’s sending something to me?'” Cathey said.
Inside was what Cathey called a “Helping Hands” mural along with a note from an art class in New York City.
“The note just says to let you know in your hard times, that there are people and loving hands thinking of you,” Cathey said. “It was very emotional at the time to think that here our city lay in ruins, and somebody, somewhere, in New York City to time to send us this note.”
Cathey said the delivery was an inspiration. Now they’re hoping to do the same by sending two murals to Southwest Florida, one to Sanibel and one to Ft. Myers, as they begin their road to recovery after Hurricane Ian.
“It’s nice and it’s a feel-good act to open something like we did it our time of — I mean we were low,” Cathey said. “We were flat, and it was one of the most of all of the things that happened to us obviously it meant something it’s mounted in our city hall.”
Because Mexico Beach is a smaller city, officials said they weren’t able to send physical resources. City staff members like Juli Danaher, thought sending their own “Helping Hands” mural was the perfect way to support Southwest Florida.
“This is just a small way for us to give back and to let them know that we’re here,” Danaher said. “We feel what they’re going through, 100 percent we feel what they’re going through and that we’re here to help and support them.”
Danaher said they feel like Mexico Beach has come to a point in its healing process where they could pay it forward.
“We’re not back 100 percent but we’re doing pretty darn good and we’re at that point four years later where we now feel like it’s time to pay it forward,” Danaher said.
Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe have also come together to raise about $25,000 for the communities impacted by Hurricane Ian.