Posted on September 15, 2017
Wow, I don't even know what to say... except, of course, THANK YOU!!! We started this fundraiser with a goal of $10,000... we are now at $122,000!... Incredible!! Thank you to each and every one of you for having such big hearts.
We started this fundraiser thinking we'd buy supplies to transport with the boat on which I was going to head over to Tortola (from Puerto Rico). As you can imagine, with a devastation of this magnitude, every day... every hour, or less... things change. Rumors fly and information changes in the blink of an eye... sometimes for the worse but overall for the better. We initially thought we would be purchasing supplies on day 1 after this fundraiser began and I would take them over on a 35' boat. Without going into detail, it was determined that this mission was potentially unsafe... especially for a husband and father of 3 children... as order had not yet been restored on the island. And, we apparently had no clue of the incredible generosity of the Puerto Rican people. By the time we were ready to head out and purchase the items on the list to bring on the relatively small boat, we learned that there was so much being graciously donated by Puerto Rico... including essentials like food, water, diapers, etc... as well as building supplies... that thankfully, the immediate needs of Tortola were being met... and that these donated supplies would be sent over in several full shipping containers by ferry (see pic) as well as by the "Puerto Rican Navy"... no, not a branch of the military, but rather a large group of Puerto Rican boats/boaters that, of course, love the BVI and due to the fact that they tend to come over to the BVI in droves for long weekends, holidays, and other large BVI boating events, were affectionately given that name some time ago. Therefore, our 1 small boat was proving to be a small drop in the bucket. This boat was then going to deliver an advanced satellite communication system to Tortola but even that mission was determined futile as communication is slowly being restored (via only very small patches of cell service and internet). The boat will still go over and assist with further evacuations but even that is happening at a more rapid pace each and every day by plane and much bigger boats... I believe even cruise ships are assisting with evacuations.
My decision to stay in PR was also based on what many of us on the team I am now a part of... consisting of local Puerto Ricans, fellow cruisers, and even some that were evacuated from Tortola... quickly learned: That our time is best spent assisting and coordinating relief efforts from "afar". (Puerto Rico is about 60 miles west of Tortola.) I have teamed up with some incredible people that are doing amazing things. And luckily, as communication improves on Tortola, our efforts are becoming more and more focused and effective as we determine exactly what the people on Tortola are specifically requesting... tarps (with the money you have donated, we just purchased $30,000 worth of tarps which will provide much needed shelter and shade (as most homes and buildings lost their roofs)... scrubs for the hospital were purchased and sent on a plane today (as they have been wearing the same scrubs for the last week!). We are continuing to source and purchase other priority items such as chainsaws (to clean up fallen trees that are everywhere) and generators (as there is no power and probably won't be for a while). The lists are long as the island more or less starts "fresh"... cots, tools, towels, toiletries/hygiene, and a lot more. But our team is "pulling out all the stops" and we WILL get there... and your donations are and will continue to be a huge help in making that happen! So again, from the heart of my bottom... er... the bottom of my heart... I thank you sincerely for your kindness.
But please don't mistake my tone of hope for a decreased need. To the contrary, as you may have been notified already, we have actually raised our goal yet again. Please don't read this as an additional request... we simply ask that you continue to share our post with additional friends and family either by Facebook, Email, Twitter, etc. to help all of us rebuild the BVI. We will continue to focus on the immediate needs of our Tortolan family with much more work and necessary funding required after that.
And here's a little foreshadowing... at some point within the following week, Brittany and I are planning on "tag-teaming" so that she can come down and offer her help here in PR... in addition to the very helpful work she is doing to support our team from Chicago (as I mentioned in my last update)... and I can see our girls!... who all just started school today by the way back in Chicago until we figure out our next step.
Until next update, thanks again,
Scott and Brittany