By Rachelle Haughn, AMA Foundation Donor & Programs Specialist
The pictures speak for themselves.
On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian made landfall on the southwest Florida coast as a Category 4 storm. The wind speed topped 150 mph. For AMA chartered clubs in Florida, this storm’s wrath meant destruction at their club flying sites—places that had served as a refuge from the stress of everyday life. Now, the storms of life were in the middle of their runways.
As soon as AMA Headquarters staff, district vice presidents, and fellow modelers across the country heard about the hurricane making landfall, they began to wonder if any AMA clubs were affected. Members in states outside of the storm’s path began texting their friends in the southern states to make sure they were okay. As applications for AMA Disaster Relief Grants rolled in at AMA Headquarters, there was no doubt that the deadly storm showed no mercy.
Hurricane Ian caused an estimated $40 billion in property damage. In Arcadia, Florida, located 50 miles north of Fort Myers, Florida, and roughly 50 miles east of the Gulf coast, torrential rain and hurricane-force wind hit the city hard. Then the Peace River spilled past its banks—drenching parts of the city and nearby farms.
Also in the hurricane’s path was the Charlotte Sport Modelers Society. Located along County Road 769, also known as Kings Highway, the storm destroyed more than half of the club’s Geotextile runway. It snapped most of the club’s safety fence as if it were made of matchsticks. And the clubhouse, well, the clubhouse was virtually obliterated. Infrastructure, signs, appliances, and more were damaged by rain and wind
In this time of uncertainty, the club turned to the AMA for help. It applied for and was approved for a $500 Disaster Relief Grant. The club will use the funds to repair damage and clear debris so its flying site can again be usable.
Any club affected by a natural disaster—including a tornado, a hurricane, flooding, or a wildfire—can apply for a Disaster Relief Grant. To learn more about the grant and to apply for it, visit https://modelaircraft.secure-platform.com/a/page/grants/disasterreliefgrant. If you have questions, call (765) 287-1256, ext. 221 or email.