This week’s feature was submitted by University of Central Florida student, Robert Haughn, who spoke with one of our past riders, Brian Steere, about his ordeal during Hurricane Ian last month.
Brian Steere is no stranger to adversity.
Steere had been living in Daytona Beach when his home was flooded during the events of Hurricane Ian.
“I looked at my garage door and my garage door had actually bowed and it made a two inch gap,” Steere said. “When I knew I couldn’t stop the water, I just started throwing things on chairs and went and got the electronics that I could in order to save what I could.”
Steere is a wounded veteran who served in the Nebraska Army National Guard from 2008 until 2012. He suffered spinal cord injuries and MST caused by hazing and physical abuse during his service. His injuries were the reason he moved to Daytona, as the cold temperatures in Nebraska would disrupt his nerve sensors and cause seizures.
“By the time I would get to my truck, which was just down the stairs, I’d have a seizure, and I take medicine to stop the seizure,” Steere said. “But because I took the medicine, I couldn’t go anywhere. That left me housebound for a large amount of time.”
Despite his struggles, Steere has always worked to overcome his injuries. In 2015, he participated in World T.E.A.M. Sport’s Face of America, a two-day bicycle ride from Arlington, Virginia to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
However, trying to recover from the Hurricane has proved difficult for Steere.
“Because of my disability, not only do I have range of movement issues, I also have fatigue issues,” Steere said of his condition. “And so I can only work for so long and then I’m stuck in my wheelchair for like, the rest of the day. So what I have learned is I have to pace myself.”
Steere says he faces $50,000 in damages. He’s received a $10,000 grant from FEMA, but he is unsure if he can get more because his insurance only covers wind damage. Despite these issues, Steere continues to be optimistic.
“Learning through everything I’ve done and learned through this, I’m going to make sure it’s not going to happen again,” Steere said. “I’m going to make sure as soon as I can that I buy flood insurance and make sure my totes are packed up and water sealed. That’s what adversity does to you, is to make sure you don’t land in this situation again, and more importantly that you’re able to help other people so they don’t land in the situation again. It’s not just you, it’s being able to help other people because that’s the key to going through the things that you go through. Because if you’re able to help other people, then that makes you a better person.”