Survivor has vivid memories of Hurricane Andrew

Posted at 1:58 PM, Aug 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-25 04:05:22-04

The scars fade. The memories do not for Juan Gonzalez as he recalls what Hurricane Andrew did to his car dealer workplace 25 years ago today.

"I see all these doors destroyed and all the cars inside damaged because debris went inside these doors," he said.

Gonzalez had been hired as the parts department manager at a Kendall dealership only three months before the Category 5 hurricane flattened South Miami-Dade from Kendall through Homestead.

Gonzalez rode out the storm at home with his wife.  

"I thought the roof of my house was coming off because I hear tiles making a noise through the whole roof and said, 'oh my God,' " he recalled.

Their home held together where so many others did not.  But Gonzalez's workplace was gutted. He, his boss, and other employees spent month after month cleaning up, breathing new life into their livelihood.  

"He (his boss) got a couple of trailers in the front and we started selling trucks because people were looking for trucks," Gonzalez said.

Grit and guts raised the post-Andrew landscape from the rubble, one agonizing day, one long year at a time. Now, 25 years later, Gonzalez is still standing tall at the same job and with the same prayer on his mind. He told me, "Every time I see a hurricane coming I pray and say, 'My God, I hope it won't happen again.'"