Only On 8: Helping Hurricane Irma’s victims in the Florida Keys

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Cleanup in the Florida Keys continues at a snail’s pace, just about one week after Hurricane Irma made landfall there. Since then, relief agencies have been out in full force.

On Saturday morning, more than 20 planes took off from Tampa Executive Airport to bring basic necessities people need to survive.

Gary Coxe is behind the controls of one of those planes.

“I get an amazing feeling by being able to help other people,” he said. “This could happen to you and for a lot of people seeing this, it’s happened to you.”

Hurricane Irma, then a Category 4, brought ferocious winds and heavy rains that flattened home and businesses.

That’s why Coxe and 20 other pilots are donating their time, planes and fuel as part of the organization Angel Flight.

“They’re our citizens. they’re our countrymen in Key West and we want to help them in any way we can,” said another pilot, Steve Purello. “We’re so appreciative that we could be part of this to have airplanes to help others.”

Coxe is also using Facebook to help business owners get back on their feet. To learn more about what he’s been up to, you can visit his Facebook page. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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