FORT WALTON BEACH — A foot-tall cross washed away from a ground-floor condominium unit during Hurricane Ivan’s storm surge last September was washed back ashore when Tropical Storm Arlene hit the Panhandle earlier this month.
As Island Echoes condominium workers watched Arlene roll in June 11, they noticed an object that had been swept in by the oncoming water.
“I looked down and said, ’Pick up the cross,’ “ recalled general manager Phyllis Shanks.
For all she knew the cross could have come from anywhere, but a closer look showed “1E” inscribed on the bottom of its pedestal. Shanks then suspected it must have come from the Island Echoes because other nearby condos number their units differently.
Unit owners Dean and Ruth Lindsey, of Carmel, Ind., were stunned when they got an e-mail from Shanks about the cross being found.
“It was amazing,” Ruth Lindsey said. “It’s the most miraculous thing I’ve ever seen.”
The couple leave it in the condo when they return to Indiana after spending the winter in the Florida Panhandle and will do so again. They say summer tourists who rent the unit are respectful of it.
“Maybe that cross will protect us,” Ruth Lindsey said. “We just assumed everything was gone. All the furniture (in the condo) was smashed against the wall.”