15 Years Later: Remembering Hurricane Charley
PUNTA GORDA- 15 years ago Hurricane Charley made landfall in Charlotte Harbor, years of rebuilding later it’s a day those who lived through it won’t soon forget.
“I said it at the time, minutes after it looks like Mother Nature had decided to redecorate our town.” Max Doyle said.
August 13, 2004, Max Doyle woke up in the apartment over the Celtic Ray Pub he owns with his father, the apartment would be gone.
“At that point we didn’t think the storm was coming for us,” Doyle said. “So we just had a couple of beers and started playing darts, and we were watching the weather on the dial up laptop, that’s going back 15 years, and then the power went out.”
They watched the storm roll in outside the pub.
“All fun and games till we started seeing roof fly by like empty Dorito bags,” Doyle said. “And that’s when we knew it was time to go back in.”
Doyle, his dad, and a handful of customers huddled in a corner of the bar as the storm sucked the windows of the bar out.
“It was mix of emotions it was adrenaline,” Doyle said. “It was are we going to die, and then seeing the roof get ripped out from over us was kind of weird. I was just watching my dad’s face watch everything fall apart.”
At the end of the day, neighbors were there for each other.
“Everybody came together,” Doyle said. “The town, people were helping each other out. When one person didn’t need a generator, they’d let the next person borrow it.”
15 years later, Doyle still feels that community spirit.
“It was one of the worst best things to ever happen to Punta Gorda.”
Now Doyle says they approach storms differently since Hurricane Charley, and when Irma was threatening they did listen to orders to evacuate.