"Hurricane Heroes" Honorees Announced prior to Oct. 7th Concert at Hammond Stadium

"Hurricane Heroes" Concert 2023


To the Southwest Florida community, the emotions surrounding the quickly approaching one-year anniversary of Hurricane Ian and the destruction left on our community are apparent.

Heroes have risen in this time, and they deserve recognition for their continued impact. The Charity Pros will host an event at Hammond Stadium at 6 p.m. on Oct. 7. The Hurricane Heroes All-Star Concert will honor local heroes.

The event will be headlined by Matchbox Twenty, a rock band that just came off a 54-stop tour that sold out at major amphitheaters and arenas nationwide. Opening for Matchbox Twenty is Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Don Felder, formerly of the Eagles. Red Hannah will be the opening band and perform an all-star set, as well as country music star Jay Allen. Matty Jollie and Sheena Brook, a survivor of Hurricane Ian on Fort Myers Beach, will make special appearances.

Honored heroes include Sheriff Carmine Marceno and the Lee County Sheriff ’s Office. Sheriff Marceno and the LCSO maintained law and order throughout Lee County, coordinated with outside agencies, saved lives through search and rescue missions, and led the county through the immense challenges.

Fort Myers Beach Mayor Dan Allers will also be honored for his efforts in immediately aiding the Fort Myers Beach community. He was elected just two short months after Ian hit, and he has taken on a challenge like no other in leading the redevelopment and recovery of Fort Myers Beach. After the storm destroyed his golf cart business, Mayor Allers donated the building at 820 Buttonwood Drive to house the most crucial distribution spot of essential survival supplies.

The location has become home to Fort Myers Beach Strong, a registered 501(c) (3) organization.

News of the 820 Buttonwood location came from Ed Ryan and Kim Ryan of Beach Talk Radio, the voice of Fort Myers Beach. These heroes made it their mission to update listeners about the dire need of beach residents continuously. Their viewership rose from 8,000 listeners to 80,000, and Beach Talk Radio broadcast live seven nights a week. Ed and Kim raised more than $300,000 for residents and businesses of Lee County and hosted several events to benefit the struggling community.

Also to be honored are Pastors Shawn Critser and Mallie Critser from Beach Baptist Church. From the day after the storm hit to now, Beach Baptist has utilized its campus as a resource for hurricane relief. Beach Baptist serves the community with groceries, supplies, bus passes, gift cards, and pastoral counseling.

They were also a critical part of the execution of toy drives, including The Charity Pros. Please note that community church services are offered each Sunday in the resource tent. Beach Baptist is alive and well.

Lastly are Doug Miller and Amy Eldridge of FK Your Diet. Their business was founded to help local foster kids, with 5% of their revenue going toward local agencies supporting them. When Hurricane Ian struck, though, they switched their focus to helping not only foster children and families, but also anybody affected by the storm.

The couple has provided more than 500,000 meals, countless amounts of furniture, building supplies, clothing, and much more to those affected. Amy and Doug still provide meals for people who turn up at the restaurant, regardless of whether they can pay. They also deliver thousands of pounds of groceries and supplies to some of the hardest hit areas each week. FK Your Diet distributed truckloads of hurricane supplies that The Charity Pros were transporting down from Pensacola. They also assisted in the delivery of toys to children that lost everything during The Charity Pros for Kiddos Toy Drive.

The proceeds from the Hurricane Heroes All-Star Concert will go towards Music aLIVE SWFL, the Lewis P. Tabarrini Children’s Music Outreach Foundation, scholarships for the School of Rock, and The Charity Pros “Megan’s Wish” program. The event also welcomes sponsorship packages; if you are interested in being a sponsor, please contact megan@thecharitypros.org. Tickets are going fast, so be sure to purchase yours at www.TheCharityPros.org.

— Megan Maloney is the co-founder and president of The Charity Pros, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that advocates and supports children’s programs focused on health, child protection, poverty, education and equality.