Airlifted off St John after Irma,
Twelve weeks after Irma, the trauma is amplified.
My name is Jeanie and I am creating this fund raiser for Irvin (Ranks) Stevens. I wanted to start it when he was first airlifted to PR, then hurricane Maria hit. All energy went to getting him off island. I wanted to wait till after the surgery, then I wanted to wait till we heard from FEMA.
Twelve weeks after Irma, he finally heard from FEMA and everything was DENIED. He is appealing.
Here is his story.
Here is how he almost cut his wrist off. ..It severed two arteries, bones intact.
Hurricane Irma hit, destroying the house Irvin lived in along with the tool shed and our house next to his. Every wall was gone. Personal items blown away or buried in rubble. A large broken glass window had glass scattered and he was trying to get around it but slipped, falling to the ground. As his hand went to catch his fall, the half buried glass slit his wrist. Deep. He walked to a neighbors down a steep hill with his hand in the air. She grabbed her keys and rushed him to the nearby fire station. No one was at the station due to its severe damge so she headed for the clinic. Thick debris was still cluttering the road so the drive was intense. Once at the clinic a visiting doctor stabilized his wrist and they decided to airlift him to the safety of Puerto Rico as Irma had just barely brushed it. A plastic surgen looked at the wound and scheduled surgery for a week later. Beyond everyone's belief, Hurricane Maria blew in days later causing extreme destruction to Puerto Rico. The surgen had went stateside and couldn't get back on island to do the surgery. The hospital was on generator with no phone contact with us or the surgen. The surgen told us to get him out anyway possible as he was on a two week time frame for possibility of best results from surgery. One week had already passed. Best results meant use of his hand or not. Nine glorious people spent over four solid days nonstop working to get him off the island. There was no priority with getting sick or injured off the island. A couple, who had evacuated from St John to PR to be safe by their parents, having no idea another storm would follow, made contact with Irvin possible.They drove from their home to the hospital many times through all the destruction, avoiding curfews, to help get messages of flights (2 got cancelled) and various other communication. We finally got him on a flight to NY to a surgeon. The surgery went well and now he is healing.
This is why he needs your help>>>
He is not allowed to work. He is living with his mother and sister and other family members in a small apartment in New York, going to Physical Therapy, running through all the loop holes of getting help with food stamps, (not a penny yet), required doctors appointments to prove he is injured in locations that have nothing to do with his actual doctors,(no rhyme or reason for that).
He has been taken away from his jobs (he always worked full time as a landscaper and part time building boats and carpentry). He has been taken away from his home (actually it blew away, it didn't just blow down, it lifted up and blew away, scattered on the hillside covered in wild tamarind and goat weed by the time the inspector came making FEMA question if he actually lived there. I know he did, he built it and lived there for ten years). He has been taken away from his support system of friends that lived on the island with him. It is like bad dream you don't wake up from.
He needs your help for transportation to meet the demands of all the paper trail and doctor appointments and Physical Therapy appointments. He needs your help for food. He is sharing space in his mother's home temporarily while his hand heals but his mother is struggling, working hard her whole life and still working hard. She even flew to Puerto Rico, not knowing a Cat 5 was going to hit, to be with Irvin for the surgery that was suppose to happen, getting stuck herself on the island after Maria. It took us 4 more days after getting Irvin off to finally get his mother a flight out.
The expense of all this is overwhelming. The paper work is overwhelming. The healing is overwhelming. The not being able to work is beyond trying Irvin's patience. He loves to stay busy. He loves working, gardening, building with his hands and now he can not even hold things in his one hand. They said 6 months before he gets to really use his hand and a year before he can work. This is a ripe situation for depression and I think any love you can send, good wishes, money, prayers, can really go a long way.
We need help now because we don't know when any help will come from FEMA. Please pass this on to those that are wanting to help. Irvin really needs it