OZELLO, Fla. (WFLA) – Everyone in Ozello seems to know the Ozello Keys Marina. Well known for air boat tours and fishing trips, the owners are putting their business on hold to deal with 4 feet of flooding that brought their way of life to a halt.
“Every time we make $10, we spend $15 putting back into this marina. So, it’s time to start over,” said Gary Bartell Jr., who has owned the business with his wife Breanna for five years.
“There’s no reason to dwell on this kind of stuff you, you just have to get to work. Thankfully, we have one of the best communities that I have ever asked for,” he added.
Worried they won’t get the help they need, neighbors are showing up to help their friends. Adam Inlow, a North Port firefighter, showed up to help because he says Bartell brought boats to North Port after Hurricane Ian to rescue people from their flooded homes.
“Unannounced, unsolicited, showed up to help. Him and several of his friends and changed our world,” he said.
Now he’s trying to return the favor.
“I’m just here to be some hands, love on them a little bit, and help them get through this,” Inlow said.
The Bartells are in the process of clearing out the marina’s buildings so they can eventually rip out walls that were affected by flooding. But they are determined to come out of this stronger.
“We are worried we’re not going to get the support. Are we depending on it? No. we’re depending on our community to come together and get us back up and operating and get people back in their homes as fast as possible.”