SAN CARLOS ISLAND, Fla. — The devastation in Southwest Florida following the devastation of Hurricane Ian is palpable.

ABC Action News reporter Heather Lee and photojournalist Michael Brantley spent several days talking to residents and hearing their stories.

You can hear the sound of disabled security systems in the distance, helicopters in the air, and debris sloshing aboard damaged boat docks and shorelines. You also see the desperation on people’s faces as they look around in awe of Mother Nature and the power she can create.

On San Carlos Island, at the base of the bridge that leads people to Ft. Myers Bridge, trash and destruction everywhere. Temple Condon’s voice shook as she told Heather and Michael about her home.

“I’ve lived here for 20 years, and I never thought it would be destroyed,” she said through tears.

There are boats in every nook and cranny of this quaint beach town, and personal belongings from people’s homes are strewn inside and outside the local businesses, which are mostly shells.

“Times Square is gone, most of the small structures, at least along the beach, are gone, damage is everywhere, literally everywhere,” Todd Richardson said. Heather and Michael caught up with him and his wife as they walked across the bridge leading off the island.

The power of Hurricane Yang cannot be underestimated.

“I was sure it wasn’t going to be a direct hit,” Douglas Liston said.

Liston felt that force when a storm surge tossed his boat around town, eventually into a house.

“When you’re at 100-plus miles, it’s scary,” he said. Heather asked him if there were times when he thought he might not make it. “Yeah, if the boat sinks, there’s no way to survive in the amount of water that was around and all the trash.”

The crew found Condon washing what was left of her clothes in a bucket of water. She knew these things might be all she had left.

“It looked like a mud puddle and by 6:30 it was up and up. You can see the top of the trailer,” she told us, pointing to the water line at the top of the trailer. “I came here because my mom used to come here and it was so beautiful. And now it’s a disaster.”

As some residents of Ft. Myers Beach carry their salvageable items to safety, others head to the island to bring food and water to those still trapped there.

“I’m going to stay as long as I can. We have people coming from Miami to help some,” said Joe Fernandez. He weathered the storm in his second-floor business with several of his dogs. “This is something I can do for my community.”

Others want to reassure family members who are not here on earth to be patient as they try to connect with loved ones.

No cell service,” said Natalie Richardson. “They’re probably fine, they just can’t communicate. We can get some messages but we can’t get anything. We can’t make any calls.’

Resilience seemed to be second nature at times like this. Even Condon knows help is out there.

“I know someone is going to come,” she said. When Heather asked her if anyone else was coming, she said no and her eyes started to close.

“I have faith.” – she continued.

Down the road, a man who has lost his boat is ready to board another.

“I’m a merchant marine. I’m looking for a boat to help the people in Sanibel,” he shouted across the water to another boatman. “If you know somebody who has a boat, probably a lot of people have to get to the hospital.”

Those who were on the island and saw the consequences, ask you not to forget them.

“Tell all your people to pray for those you know over there and pray for those you don’t know because it’s bad,” Richardson said.