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#GetCaroleHome: Strangers Help Woman Track Down Her Mom Trapped By Hurricane.

Carole McDanel and Beth Booker

Hurricane Ian will go down in history as one of the worst storms to ever hit Florida.

In the days leading up to the devastating storm, Beth Booker and her husband helped her grandmother, who raised her since she was 5 years old and whom Beth calls mom, prepare her Fort Myers home.

Seventy-eight-year-old Carole McDanel had weathered many severe storms and hurricanes in her home before, and since Ian’s trajectory showed it skirting her area, she felt safe to stay in the house she’d lived in for 20 years. She tucked away photos of Beth and other family mementos on a high shelf in the garage, never thinking the water would rise high enough to damage them.

But the hurricane did not miss Fort Myers. Instead, it pummeled the area with intense wind and rain for days. Carole texted Beth photos of the rising waters throughout the day on Wednesday, and the two spoke on the phone at around 3 p.m.

After that, Carole’s power and phone went out, and Beth had no way of contacting her.

Beth started to panic when she saw pictures of Carole’s flooded neighborhood online, so she sought solace and information on Twitter.

“I have never felt more helpless in my life,” she wrote on Twitter. “I called my mom and it went to voicemail. I’m praying that she put her phone on airplane mode to save battery. So scared. Can’t stop shaking. Please, angels. Get her through this.”

As the hours wore on, Beth used Twitter to track her mother down. She created the hashtag #GetCaroleHome and asked followers for assistance locating her and pooling other resources to find people displaced from the storm. Her only goal was spreading the missing person message as far as possible in hopes someone would spot Carole.

The next day, Beth’s husband and a friend took off in their boat to try to find Carole. They found her inside her flooded home, where she’d been trapped for hours. Beth was so relieved! She immediately updated Twitter to let people know the search had been successful.

“She heard them yelling ‘CAROLE!’ and she was so happy,” Beth said. “She said she would go out and wave her arms when planes and helicopters flew by, and that when she saw my two best guys, she was relieved to know that we would be together.”

Carole’s home was badly damaged, and their family heirlooms were irretrievably damaged, but the important thing is Carole is safe! She’s incredibly grateful for the support of people far and wide.

“I have so much gratitude for the overwhelming support I’ve received from people around the world, complete strangers, who were wishing for my well-being during Hurricane Ian,” Carole said. “That positive energy and those prayers were felt by me through one of the most isolating and uncertain moments in my life.”

Now that Carole is safe, Beth has turned her attention to supporting others who are searching for loved ones after the storm! She’s found a way to harness the power of social media, and she’s sharing her knowledge with others. Well done, Beth!

Share this story to send good thoughts to everyone affected by Hurricane Ian.

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