Hurricane Recovery for Virginia B. Andes Clinic

In an effort to inform the community of the exceptional efforts made by local organizations in the Hurricane Ian response and recovery process, the Long-Term Recovery Group has been meeting with organization leaders to listen to their stories. Recently, we reached out to Suzanne Roberts, the CEO of Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Clinic in Port Charlotte, to hear about the struggles they faced with Ian and how they are continuing to support our community’s recovery.

Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic provides no-cost volunteer Medical, Pharmacy, and Wellness Services to the under-served in Charlotte County. Last year, they saw 9,673 patients at their clinic and had 8,624 pharmacy visits by some of Charlotte County’s most vulnerable residents. When Hurricane Ian nearly destroyed the clinic, they wasted no time in restoring their facilities and doing everything in their power to serve the community.

For Virginia B. Andes, the most valuable asset to their organization is their generous and committed staff and volunteers. This is why their main priority when preparing for Hurricane Ian was to make sure that everyone in their organization was in a safe place to weather the storm. Over half of the clinic’s workers left the state or fled to the east coast while the others stayed in the area. For Suzanne Roberts, she rode out the storm in the clinic to make sure that no time was wasted in assessing the damage and starting the response and recovery process when Ian passed.

Unfortunately, the clinic was not spared any of Hurricane Ian’s devastation. When asked about the damages Roberts told us, “About half of the ICU from Fawcett came down on top of our building. We had over 300,000 dollars’ worth of damage.” Everything from signage and lighting to the roof and flooring was described as either destroyed or unrecognizable. Fortunately, the structure of their building survived and repairs to their roof and flooring are to being finished soon, “We opened in seven days as soon as we would get the electricity up and running.”  

After Roberts left the clinic and she was able to view the scale of Hurricane Ian’s destruction on the community, she told us her first thought was, “How can I help?” Roberts and her team went door-to-door handing out hygiene kits and food to families who were severely impacted. Roberts also made sure to be accommodating, giving her staff and volunteers the time they needed to deal with their homes and ensure that their families were safe. When questioned about the sacrifices she and her team had to make she said, “As an organization leader, I don’t look at it as a sacrifice, for me it’s my duty.”

Once Virginia B. Andes was back up and running, Roberts and her team made sure the community knew and that their patients were able to get the help they needed. Before even having their roof replaced or phone lines operational, they were filling prescriptions and seeing patients to make sure no one was making any unnecessary and costly ER visits. After countless sleepless nights and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent, operations at Virginia B. Andes have slowly begun returning to normal.

Hurricane Ian has taught our community many harsh lessons but organizations like Virginia B. Andes have adapted and are looking to the future. This time next year their building will have a new generator so they will be operating immediately after a big storm. Additionally, Virginia B.Andes is planning to have a fully operational mobile medical bus by mid-January to reach out to those vulnerable individuals who might not have the means to regularly go to the clinic.

As we continue to struggle with the challenges Hurricane Ian created, it is easy to lose sight of what our community has gained. Our community’s organizations were brought together by Hurricane Ian with a shared mission to better our community. This has resulted in a strengthened network of trust, communication, and cooperation which, coupled with new and improved facilities, will ensure our community’s resilience to future disasters.


Suzanne Roberts, CEO of Virginia B. Andes Clinic       

About the LTRG

The Charlotte County Long-Term Recovery Groupworks 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 Virginia B. Andes

The Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic is a Florida nonprofit corporation with a current 501 (c)3 tax exempt status. The mission of VBA Clinic is to provide no-cost primary and semi-urgent medical services and prescription medication to our uninsured neighbors in Charlotte County. For more information, please contact or call (941).766-9570.