Saturday, February 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

South Pasadena condo president to ride out storm and watch over flock

SOUTH PASADENA — George Shukis is taking names.

He patrols around Harbourside Condos grounds with a clipboard and sturdy Nikon camera, taking note of what's left on the balconies Friday morning: potted plants, plastic beach chairs, wicker furniture.

It's for their own good, he says. "I just can't have missiles out there."

Shukis, the condo association president, is 66. He kayaks, paddleboards and hits the gym for two hours, five days a week. He's in better shape than many of the residents in the 108 units in two identical, six-story buildings he oversees on the grimly named Deadman's Key.

The majority of the residents are seasonal, safe from looming Hurricane Irma in the midwest and Canada. But about 40 percent live year-round in a priority evacuation zone, yet they intend to stay, Shukis says. He won't leave them, either.

"When you volunteer for something, you have to follow through," he said. "I have a sense of duty."

Shukis, a retired lawyer from Houston, has endured his share of Texas hurricanes. But he worries about the cars on the ground level garage, feet away from Boca Ciega Bay. He frets over the 90-year-old residents who may not be fully prepared for the storm.

He said he's personally collected 100 pounds of ice in his sixth-floor unit to keep their medications fresh. The rest is used to accompany gin.

Shukis says he expects high winds and a storm surge. He's not worried, but he has taped his windows on his sixth-floor unit.

"It's going to get unpleasant," he says alongside the condo pool with lounge chairs sunk to the bottom. "I believe in God, I believe in tomorrow."

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