GENEVA, Fla. - There have been plenty of stories of good Samaritans coming out after Hurricane Ian. One of FOX 35’s new favorites is Brandon Simmons.
Since the Friday after Hurricane Ian struck Central Florida, Simmons has been spending every waking hour helping tow people through high floodwaters that have taken over Morgan Alderman Road near State Road 46.
There are about 200 people back there, neighbors say, and Simmons has been helping all of them get to school, work, and wherever else they need.
"I got the idea from a neighbor being trapped d- his daughter on one side, couldn’t get to the other. I asked him if he needed help, he said sure. We loaded the car up and took him across. I haven’t stopped since," explained Simmons.
The people he’s towed out are immensely grateful.
"We just met from this disaster and it’s wonderful," said Andrea Philipps, one of the people Simmons towed on Monday, October 10th. "He’s awesome."
Morgan Lorts is the one who tipped FOX 35 off about the work Simmons has been doing. Simmons has helped her a few times now.
"It’s been two weeks tomorrow since I was home, but because of Brandon I was able to be towed through the water and see my family and my dog and the house and actually get food and medication and supplies," Said Lorts.
In those two weeks, Simmons earned himself a few nicknames.
"Water Uber. Lake Harney Woods Jungle Adventure. The River Cruise," he listed.
That last one is his favorite. But the people he’s helped have another name for him, too:
"Godsend," said Philipps.
Simmons says he gets up as early as he can and usually tows 3-4 cars an hour from 6:00 a.m. to about 10:00 p.m.
"He towed my car through the water on Friday night – at 8:00 at night he did that. And then on Sunday morning at 7:30 in the morning, he was there to tow me back out," said Lorts.
"A few people have said, ‘Hey how early can you be there?’ And I’m like, ‘How early do you need me to be there?’" said Simmons.
Lorts says he goes even beyond giving people rides and towing their cars through the water, though.
"He went to my house and got our garbage and I guess he had a dumpster set up, so he was taking garbage to the dumpster. He did an amazing service for our community," she explained.
Simmons says he won’t stop until he’s no longer needed.
"It’s a little fun," said Simmons. I like towing and stuff, I like moving things around, so I get enjoyment out of that. And I enjoy helping people."
Simmons wanted to make sure to impart, he does get some help. A man named Billy has been helping him tow cars. Authorities brought in supplies on boats.
But he says they could use more.
The area is hard to access and he’s hoping FEMA or another agency will be able to step in and help out a bit more.