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'Starling is Kind of Bringing me Back to Life,' Resident says

When Hurricane Ian struck Southwest Florida in September 2022, it ravaged Ray Lutes' North Fort Myers home.

"I lived down there for about nine years. And everything was perfectly okay there except a hurricane called Hurricane Ian came along, and when that happened, of course it destroyed a lot of things including where I lived."

Ray says there was damage and debris everywhere.

"The flood itself got into the house. Mud. It was a disaster. I lost my car due to the flood. It was bad news!"

He knew something had to change.

"I knew right away this was something I wasn’t about to take along at my age. So I called my son and he came and got me."

Shortly after that, Ray moved into Starling at Nocatee Independent Living.

"I’ve been here since last November. I came here, and now I walk to the gym. I don’t have a car now. It’s quite a walk to the gym and I go to the gym every day and I ride the bike."

Ray credits Starling for helping him get back on track, and making huge strides in his physical health.

"Here at Starling I faithfully ride that bike 10 miles every day. So I feel like Starling’s kind of bringing me back to life. And I like the place. And the people are wonderful. It’s a good place for me and so a lot of people express sympathy about the fact I lost my place down there. And to be honest about it I have no regrets. I just smile about it and say you can’t unring the bell. It’s done. I’m glad to be here!"

He often looks back on Hurricane Ian, but realizes everything happens for a reason.

"I think being here is really - I’m a person of faith and I kind of believe God put me here for a reason and I’m glad I’m here. So, it’s all good!"