VERO BEACH, Fla. — Despite warnings about Hurricane Matthew, Mary Ruscki has no plans to leave her home at Ranchland Mobile Park in Vero Beach.
“I was through Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey,” Ruscki said. “It was horrible. My house came off the foundation, which is why I’m in Florida. But I’m not too worried about (Matthew).
“Because I made it through Sandy, I can make it through this. If the good Lord wants me, he can have me — so long as he takes my dog with me.”
Ruscki said approximately half of the 70 to 75 residents — all senior citizens — at Ranchland have opted to stay and ride out the storm. A handful of the homes have shutters on the windows, but many do not.
Still, they would rather take the chance to be able to protect their property.
“They don’t want any looting, they want to make sure their property is safe,” she said. “There’s a lot of reasons why they’re staying. This park has been hit by hurricanes before and that’s what was going on. There was a lot of looting going on. You don’t get the protection here because first responders are all over the place, so we’re staying.”
Some of the residents who are staying plan to wait out the storm in the community center at the center of the park. Still, that building does not have hurricane-proof windows, nor are they covered.
“I’ve warned them all about the windows,” Ruscki said. “I’m going to back and forth checking on them and making sure everything is good in there.”
Terri Frye said she couldn't afford to leave Ranchland even if she wanted to.
"I don't have money to go anywhere else and we just bought the place," she said "Everything I own is in there and we've have two dogs. I just paid rent here, so we're staying. We'll just rough it out.
"I moved to Florida from Massachusetts in 1983, so I've been through a lot of hurricanes."