PHOTO – Citizen Wades in Hurricane Ian’s Floodwaters to Locate Stranger’s Mom: ‘People Are Amazing’

A first responder with Orange County Fire Rescue makes her way through floodwaters looking for residents of a neighborhood needing help in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Christine Bomlitz was filled with anxiety as Hurricane Ian hit Florida where her 84-year-old mother lives.

When Thursday dawned, the storm had passed, but she heard nothing from her mother as she sat worrying in her home in Las Vegas, the Associated Press (AP) reported Friday.

Bomlitz then went to social media for help to find out if her mother, Shirley Affolter, was safe.

“Any of my FL friends know anyone in Englewood? I Need to check on my mom.  She doesn’t have a cell. I called to have well check, but who knows when that will be at Lemon Bay Isles. The group she signed up to evacuate seniors did not get her so she rode it out by herself,” Bomlitz wrote in a post on Wednesday.

However, on Thursday afternoon 26-year-old Cheynne Prevatt took action by wading into chest-high waters to find Affolter, who was stranded in Englewood.

Prevatt was relieved to find the elderly woman safe, noting she was surprised to see someone at her door.

A photo showed the elderly woman with a grin on her face while sitting on the couch next to her walker:

The mother and daughter reconnected over the phone and Bomlitz expressed her deep gratitude to the neighbor.

She said, “A total stranger. People are amazing.”

Social media users praised the neighbor for her efforts, one person writing, “I love hearing these stories of people, often strangers, going out of their way to help others. It gives me hope in this often cruel world.”

Prevatt also commented and told others “Not going to lie I was scared to go after her . I’m so glad I did and that she’s okay, what a sweet lady she is. I would do it 10x over if I needed to. This is a time to get together for friends family neighbors and strangers.”

According to the AP report, someone with a paddleboard later arrived at the home to transport Affolter to safety.


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