A 96-year-old World War II veteran survived Hurricane Ian in his flooded trailer.

Walter wasn’t going to let Ian beat him. His stuff, on the other hand, didn’t go so well.

WINK News met Walter back in February on his 96th birthday. People must have liked the story because he was sent a lot of birthday cards.

Inside the trailer on the blue chair, this is how Walter rode out Hurricane Ian while most, possibly everyone else in the area evacuated.

But that’s not what he told Marci Haskins, his granddaughter.

“He told me he was in a shelter,” Haskins said.

Walter told WINK News he thought Ian wasn’t going to hit Collier County, so he decided to stay.

“I went into survival mode, the best way to get through this is my mindset,” Walter said. “I didn’t know what to think at that point, I just had to be patient and the wind howled.”

The water then began to rise to his neighbor’s trailer. From bad to worse, Walter’s trailer started leaking.

“I couldn’t fall apart, I had to keep my sanity,” Walter said.

And when his family learned the truth that Walter had not evacuated, they were stunned.

“Poisoned; I mean, the man just spent the night floating around the living room like a 96-year-old man,” Haskins said.

Grandpa Walter lost his house and most of his belongings in the storm. But one thing that did was the 56 birthday cards WINK News viewers sent him for his birthday in February.

After the storm passed, Haskins took Walter to her place and took him to her apartment because there was no elevator. Walter has since moved into a nursing home as the family struggles to raise enough money to rebuild his home or help him find a nursing home.

“I’m just thankful to be alive,” Walter said.

Earlier, when WINK News spoke with Walter in February, he shared the lessons he’s learned over the years. When asked what he learned from living through it, he made it very clear that he was leaving the next time a storm came.