Howard Benson’s mind was made up regardless of the weather.
While others were weighing whether to evacuate South Florida, one person passing through Marion County had another mission in mind.
He was headed southward to Fort Myers, hauling his belongings in a small trailer.
Howard Benson’s mind was made up regardless of Hurricane Dorian. He was going to drive from Arizona to Florida, even though Hurricane Dorian churned in the Atlantic and could hit the state.
Benson, a 93-year-old World War II veteran, has no relatives in Arizona and wants to be near his family. He was in a diabetic coma recently, he said, and that “woke me up.”
Dr. Jeff Turney, chair of the Military & Veterans Affairs Committee in Glendale, Arizona, and a sergeant with the Glendale Police Department, helped make the drive possible. He took time off from his jobs to drive Benson across the country.
“He was going to go, no matter what,” said Turney, standing outside the Shell gas station at 3928 W. Silver Springs Blvd. in Ocala.
Benson was determined to drive by himself, and that wouldn’t do.
He is a former navigator and radio man for PV-2 planes in the Pacific during World War II. As he made this trip, Benson had a map on his lap tracking the journey.
So far, he said, they had traveled close to 2,100 miles.
Benson said his son, grandchildren and other family members live in Fort Myers and he’s going to live in an assisted living facility.
Turney said he hoped Dorian didn’t affect their trip, as they had been traveling for three days. He planned on reaching Fort Myers sometime Saturday. Then he was going to hop on a flight Sunday night back to Arizona.
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