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Help For Our Friend #Irma#BVI

$6,220 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 65 people in 12 months
We have a friend in the British Virgin Islands who was directly affected by Hurricane Irma. Her name is Karen Freeman. Karen has the biggest heart and has personally shown us kindness beyond anything we've ever known during our trips down in the BVI's.  

The hurricane was a category 5 when it made landfall in the BVI's. The island, Totola, (where Karen lives) sustained wind speeds of 185-210 mph for 4 hours straight. Due to the "nuclear like devastation" experienced from hurricane Irma in the BVI's and surrounding islands, many have been left with absolutely no shelter or way to evacuate. Karen herself, along with her grandson and family, we're left with no adequate shelter as they lost 50% of their home. We are attempting to raise funds to get her family evacuated from the island, when they are able to do so.  

We are attempting to fund airfare for the family which consists of Karen Vella Freeman, Fred Freeman, daughter Kaydin Freeman, son Jazz Freeman and grandson. Karen is from Malta and we would like to secure funds for them to fly home and recoup at home with family. Additional funds would also be used for the re-building and replacement of their belongings which were all lost in the storm.

We believe that if they are able to get off the island, a flight for the (5) of them could cost anywhere from $5-7k. The loss of all their belongings would bring this fund up to around $10k. 

We would really like to help the family get to a safe place to recover. They have lost EVERYTHING! 

Anything will help. If you have $5 or $10 to spare, we would greatly appreciate your contributions. We would like to start this funding off with a $1000 donation.


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The media has not had  much coverage of the devastation so if you would like to take a look for yourself, please visit the following sites for more information.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1922822811318744/

https://www.facebook.com/caribbeanbuzzhelicopters/

Also, if you would like to help in other ways, we would recommmend the following charity. Richard Branson and Virgin have started this and are not charging any fee's or OH. In other words, we believe that the most  money will go directly to the victims in the area. He is a long time resident of the area and has done a ton for the community.

https://www.virgin.com/unite/bvi-community-support-appeal
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Financial Update (Required by GoFundMe)

Hi All,

I wanted to send a financial update to all the generous donors of this campaign. We are entering the final week of this campaign and are looking ahead to the distribution of the funds to Karen.

Karen and Xay are still stuck in London awaiting a new passport for Xaydin. It appears that they may not be home to Malta by the end of this campaign, so we are forced to set up withdrawal rights to someone other than Karen as this must be set up prior to the end of the campaign. I will be handling the withdrawal and transfer of funds to Karen once she gets to Malta. Here is how we plan to proceed;

1- I (Aric Norby) will set up myself as the temporary beneficiary.
2- I will post an update of all fund transfers and payments for previous expenses incurred (i.e. airline tickets, hotels, cash transfers (western union). This update will include a spreadsheet of the expenses and also a balance showing remaining funds.
3- Upon the final fund transfer to Karen, I will post the spreadsheet showing all transactions and the final transfer to Karen. Receipts will accompany this update to keep things transparent.

If you have any questions or concerns about this update, please feel free to contact me through this campaign and I will contact you directly.

Thank you again for the tremendous support you have shown Karen and her family!!!
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Hi Friends!

Thank you so much for all of you love and support. We’d like to provide you with an update on Karen’s situation. Karen and Xaydin, Karen’s grandson, made it safely to London and are awaiting a passport for Xaydin. Once they receive his passport, they will be on their way to Malta, Karen’s hometown. Their journey has been long and hard but their spirits have reminded high throughout. Xaydin has made a new friend while in London which has helped him to overcome some of the aftermath of the trauma he experienced during Hurricane Irma. The rest of Karen’s family remains in the BVI while awaiting papers for travel. They will hopefully be reunited soon. Xaydin has been without his mother since the hurricane so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that logistically things work out sooner than later. Once in Malta, their main goal is to try and make a new life for the family. They’ve been through a lot and their journey has just begun. Thank you for playing a big part in helping them to rebuild their lives!
Xadyn on the train in London heading to fill out paperwork for his passport.
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Update #3 - 9/13/17

Hello All,

I promise to keep this much more short and SWEET tonight. This update is for two reasons. One, we have an important goal in this mission. Karen and Xaydin are safe and warm in a bed in Puerto Rico!!! Second, we are all exhausted and need some sleep! Obviously the first is the only thing that matters so on to the update.

The boat evacuation I posted on last night did not work out as planned. Surprise, surprise. Apparently the BVI Gov. changed port clearance protocols at the last minute yesterday afternoon and all boats had to clear the port authority again in order to get to Tortola. So Karen who was down at the port early to work on clearance and other paperwork items, was unable to do anything. Stuck again.

But then something amazing happened! One of Karens FB friends contacted her and told her that there were two seats open on a private helicopter evac flight which was leaving Nanny Cay at 11. She contacted the person coordinating the passengers, and boom, they were on! Karen found a way to get to the flight and they were on. We got a message right before she left Road Town and it said, "I'm heading to Nanny Cay to get on a helicopter, get me cleared into PR", and she was gone!!

Hours went by and we finally contacted the helicopter charter company and they told us that the pilot just took off from PR and that if the pilot was allowed to leave, the family was safely in PR. So we waited. About 430 we received the following message;

"Puerto Rico airport was great. Helped in every way. We are in the hotel. Xaydin is killing a Wendy's burger and fries!"

That was the best news we have had since finding out they were okay! God is good, and things work out in weird ways. We will begin working on the next mission, getting Karen and Xaydin to Malta. Another journey begins tomorrow.

A special thanks to everyone that has donated or shared this campaign. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and Karen wants you all to know that there are no words to express how much she appreciates all the support, partly because the support is so overwhelming, and partly because she was soooooo tired that her eyelids could not stay open and a personal note would have to wait until tomorrow! I think we all understand!

Although an important milestone has occurred and we are so excited that they are safe and in a bed tonight, please help us continue this campaign by sharing with friends and family! The rebuilding has not even begun yet, but we will celebrate the blessings of this day.

Much love from all of us (Aric, Jessica, and Avy) but most of all from Karen! Thanks for all the support!

A truly special thanks to the following people/companies who made this all happen today;

Caribbean Buzz Helicopters https://www.facebook.com/caribbeanbuzzhelicopters/

Cid Nava
Claudine Bourdon
James Dixon
Puerto Rico Government Staff
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New Update!! 9/12/17

Hi Everyone, Please bear with me as this may be a long winded update. My apologies in advance.

We continue to be overwhelmed with the support we are seeing on this cause. It is truly a blessing to watch all the people that have been impacted through knowing Karen. Big and small, we cannot begin to verbalize our appreciation for those who have donated to this campaign. EVERY donation is making a profound difference in Karen's road to recovery form this disaster. In addition, this "fundme" campaign has been shared on Facebook over 166 times. 660 people have visited the campaign site in the past 24 hrs, and almost 2500 people have seen this fundraiser in total. You simply can't understand the importance of having this campaign shared, it is the backbone of the success of this mission. Even if you have not been able to financially support this, your willingness to share this with friends and family have made a profound difference. Thank you!

This experience has truly helped me personally regain my hope in humanity. It is so easy to get caught up in the negative of all that life throws at us. Whether it be political differences, racial divides, or conflicts throughout the world, we are constantly bombarded with the "negative" aspects of this life. Like a train wreck, it is so easy to get caught up in the narrative that is spoon fed to us all through the media. To see a group of people that have most likely never met each other, but have made a conscious decision to rally around a person in need is truly inspiring. Raising almost $1000 for the campaign yesterday (24 hrs) was amazing. We felt like we had some solid prospects for getting Karen out and things felt really positive.

So on to the update. Early today, our team went from a very positive outlook to being very deflated and feeling very helpless. I was attempting to write an update earlier, and found it very difficult to find the positive aspects of the evacuation progress we made this morning. We had opportunities that had either slipped away, or simply disappeared like a fog in the night. US Military evacuation was our top priority since last night. We had spent hours on the phone with diplomatic contacts, felt really good about the chance to get the family out, and then this morning everything just kind of fell apart. We lost communication with Karen and felt truly helpless and deflated in our resolve to get Karen and her family out. Hope was never lost, but moral within our team was bottoming out. Not a good morning.

Then like a ship in becalmed waters, the good Lord breathed life into our sails! (Pardon the sailing pun). We regained comms with Karen, and were able to establish multiple backup plans in case our other plans fell apart, and simply gave and received some much needed love and support from each other. We recognized that some family members may need to stay behind to work through some "complications", but we regained focus on the task at hand, getting Karen out, along with her grandson Xaydin! The other family members are dedicating to completing a list of items prior to leaving, and we will continue to support them in all their efforts. We are certain that everyone will be re-united as soon as possible. Leaving your home, even after this level of destruction, is a very difficult thing to do.

This evening after talking with Karen, we established the goals for tomorrow. Karen and Xaydin are going to pack their bags and from this point on will carry them with them as they go. She is going to be at the Port Authority early tomorrow to work on Xaydin's travel docs which had expired just a month or so ago. She is also going to work on getting clearance to leave BVI and all paperwork associated with it. Our team has contacted over 8 private captains whom are making emergency supply runs from Puerto Rico to BVI and have found one that is able to take them (as long as we have all paperwork sorted out).

The charter company is to arrive in BVI port at 9am and will leave promptly at 11am. They are working to clear Karen and Xaydin into PR this evening, and we hope to have this sorted by the time they get there. The ride will take appx 2-3hrs, but the marine weather report looks good for tomorrow (I have not seen this, but have been told). On top of all this, they are willing to do this out of the goodness of their hearts, for free. I will post a donation site for them once I can track it down.

Even if they cannot make this crossing tomorrow, we have two other options that we are working on, so I feel rather confident that Karen and Xaydin will be in Malta by the weekend, or worst case in the US until we can get her.

Please say some prayers tonight that things work out as we hope tomorrow, and also for safe travels for Karen and Xay. Please continue to share this with others as it truly makes a difference. As of 930 this evening we have raised over $3500 for Karen and her family. Simply amazing!!!! Even after finding their way to a safe and loving home, the re-building has just begun. Please also note that many others are in a similar situation and have no where to go, please see our original story for our recommendations on how to contribute to the overall relief efforts in BVI!

Much love from our team (Avy, Aric, & Jessica), and especially from Karen!
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$6,220 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 65 people in 12 months
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LF
$100
Liz Freeman
11 months ago
PN
$100
Paul Norby
11 months ago
LD
$10
Lanika Vella desira
11 months ago
SH
$50
Shana Heilbron
12 months ago
LG
$50
Lisa Gilstrap
12 months ago
TZ
$100
tracy zammit
12 months ago
PH
$100
Phil Herron
12 months ago
DS
$100
Douglas Stimmel
12 months ago
BW
$100
Barbara Weinkle
12 months ago
DF
$50
Devyn Flack
12 months ago
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