Carrie Walsh, Leads Human Services Department in the Aftermath of Devastating Storm

Charlotte County, Amidst the debris and heartache left by Hurricane Ian, one individual shines as a beacon of hope and compassion. Meet Carrie Walsh, the dedicated and passionate Human Services Department Director, who has been working tirelessly to uplift and support the community of Charlotte County during their time of need.

Under Walsh's guidance, the Human Services Department has been the pillar of strength for the residents of Charlotte County. Walsh and her team have been offering priceless assistance through their four divisions: intake services, veterans services, services for elderly individuals, and neighborhood services. Walsh and her team have a strong dedication to helping those in need. They identify people's needs, link them to necessary resources, and work with neighborhood partners to establish a coordinated strategy for community support.

When asked about her favorite part of her role, Walsh's eyes light up with passion. "The opportunity to help people is just so incredible to wake up and get to do," she shares. As a born and raised resident of Charlotte County, she holds a special place in her heart for this community, making her work even more meaningful.

As the hurricane approached, Walsh's main concern was the well-being of the vulnerable people in this County, including the elderly, people without reliable transportation, and people who are struggling financially. "Most people don't have enough money to buy weeks' worth of food and water or evacuate," she explains, highlighting the vulnerable position such individuals find themselves in during collective trauma. Recognizing the potential devastation, Walsh and her team worked diligently to provide immediate access to food, water, and other crucial resources right after the storm.

The Human Services Department went above and beyond in its preparation work. Walsh and her staff, who were in charge of the call center in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), were prepared to respond to calls and direct members of the community looking for assistance. They made sure that food banks were accessible, promoted advance planning, and emphasized the value of using family and friends as the primary source of shelter. Walsh was especially proud of her staff's commitment, as they selflessly looked after their own families while actively promoting the community's safety.

Walsh maintained her composure in the EOC as the hurricane raged, certain that her family was safe because they had evacuated. She was unable to evaluate the damage to her own home for seven days, which shows her unwavering dedication to the community's wellbeing. But there was no denying the toll on her mental health and the strain from social expectations. Walsh worked tirelessly to provide those affected a feeling of normalcy, despite the pressure.

Walsh's heart broke as he saw the devastation left in the wake of the hurricane since she is aware that those who are most vulnerable suffer the most. Walsh says, "It just makes you feel bad," highlighting her worries for young children and the elderly. Her first priority was making sure her team and others in need could return home safely, which was a challenging task given the lack of resources and staff.

During the storm, Walsh found herself in the EOC, sharing a room with 50 other individuals, sleeping on a cot. Comfort, however, was not her priority; ensuring the well-being of her community took precedence. Sacrificing personal comfort, Walsh exemplified the spirit of resilience and dedication that drives her team.

Despite the storm's passing, long-term challenges remained. The department tirelessly worked to secure sufficient resources, prioritizing those with the most urgent needs. Balancing everything was no easy feat. Yet, amid the challenges, Carrie sees a glimmer of hope for her community. There are numerous opportunities for growth and development. As Carrie states, “We need to think of resiliency not just for buildings but for our people. We need to be thinking in terms of the wellbeing of our community, like social interaction and education. There's a silver lining behind this storm, and now we have a chance for opportunity. We need to think about what will make our community better.”

As Carrie continues her journey, she knows her work is far from over. With a determined spirit, Carrie is ready to embrace the opportunities that lay ahead. Armed with compassion and a strong community spirit, she leads her team in their mission to create a brighter future for Charlotte County.

Carrie Walsh

About the LTRG

The Charlotte County Long-Term Recovery Group works to coordinate recovery services and build resiliency for individuals, families, and entities adversely impacted by Hurricane Ian in Charlotte County. Its purpose is to engage the community and create a vision while re-imagining the systems and landscape of our community. A plan will be created and published in the Fall of 2023. For more information, please contact us at

About Human Services

We are dedicated to improving the wellbeing, financial security and critical needs of the Charlotte County community through collaborative partnerships and direct services. The department is made up of four divisions: Intake Services, Veteran Services, Aging & Adult Services and Neighborhood Services. 

Information and resources are available 24 hours a day through Charlotte 2-1-1. To speak to a representative call 2-1-1 or 941.205.2161 or find resources online at

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