A St. Thomas homeowner finally getting his house back in shape 18 months after Hurricane Irma.
It’s all thanks to the help of one community organization just wanting to take care of their island.
Mr. George has spent the last 18 months living in a hurricane ravaged home.
“I have some big kids and I keep telling them no don’t come here because the house is in no condition. I feel ashamed.”
He tried getting help from FEMA but didn’t qualify because he didn’t have the paperwork to prove this was his home.
He got tired of waiting and lost hope.
“They were running me around so much especially when I was weaker.”
That’s when a case worker from the St. Thomas Recovery Team called.
Mr. George didn’t want to answer, fed up with the whole process.
But they didn’t stop trying.
“We have a disaster case management program you know, and two case managers they’re just rock stars day in and day out. So, we get some peoples’ names from FEMA who didn’t get support or weren’t made whole which is we’re thinking like 8,600 households on St. Thomas, that’s more than half,” Imani Daniel of the St. Thomas Recovery Team said.
The team said they were born out of the disasters, stepping in to help their community in the time of need.
They’ve stuck around for going on two years and they’ve inspired others to get involved.
“To see the damage that the hurricanes did and then being able to repair that. That’s something that I think a lot of people especially in Alaska we don’t really have hurricanes, so seeing able to see that and being able to repair that as well,” Catherine Cecil from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said.
A group of volunteers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks are spending their spring break working on Mr. George’s house.
Under the direction of the St. Thomas Recovery team coordinator.
“Mainly what I do all day is I run around and answer a bunch of questions. I’ve gotten incredibly lucky this week in that all of my volunteers are super knowledgeable so they needed very little form me in the way of instruction and it’s more just directing the project making sure that they understand the scope of work, making sure they understand our goals and assisting them in accomplishing them wherever I can,” Dan Levin the Construction Coordinator on the St. Thomas Recovery Team said.
The volunteers just started here on Tuesday.
It’s two days later and they’ve already gotten so much work done.
They should be wrapped up by this weekend ready to head back to their own home while Mr. George gets back into his.
“The Alaska team traveled 33 hours to spend their spring break working in the hot Caribbean sun we couldn’t ask for more fellowship and brotherhood than something like that,” Daniel added.
Mr. George watches in awe, as dozens of those volunteers make his home a home again.
After 18 months, he finally will be able to live a normal life and he says he’s so happy he took that call from St. Thomas Recovery.
“For real it did work out the best,” Mr. George said.
To donate or learn more about St. Thomas Recovery go to https://www.globalgiving.org/donate/52753/st-thomas-recovery-team/