Our friend, Maestro, and Sifu (Teacher) Dino Rhelos needs our help to start over after surviving the devastating Hurricane Irma in Jacksonville, Florida.
Jacksonville experienced unprecedented flooding due to the hurricane, rains and record breaking storm surge flooding, which caused the St. Johns River to rise over 5 feet above flood stage in downtown Jacksonville.
Dino has rode out many storms of various intensity during his almost 20 years in Florida, but always came out for the most part high and dry. That changed with Hurricane Irma. Dino was prepared once again to hunker down and ride out another hurricane during the weekend of September 9 and 10th. However, Sunday the 10th into Monday the 11th brought over 9 inches of rain into the Jacksonville area. On Monday morning, residents were warned by the National Weather Service, the City of Jacksonville, and the Sheriffs office for people around the St. Johns River to "get out NOW".
Within a couple of hours on Monday the 11th, storm surge flooding of over 5' above flood stage exceeded the all time record in downtown Jacksonville, which had previously been set with Hurricane Dora in 1964.
Dino and his roommate, Leos, are self-employed musicians and teachers, who not only lost their home, but have lost their means of income without a place to teach, and much of their musical equipment and paper & digital files ruined. With just minutes to spare before his vehicle would have been lost to the floodwaters, Dino was able to get out with just a few pieces of clothing and some of the musical equipment.
Almost everything he owned was ruined - the apartment is now uninhabitable. The furniture is trash except for possibly one desk. He lost crucial medicines, medical records, music equipment, electronics, paper and digital files, and sentimental treasures collected over the years.
Dino is always the first to help others whenever he sees a need. Whether it is helping a friend, offering support to a student, or sharing his talent to raise funds for a benefit for someone who needs a hand.
Now Dino is the one in need. We know he would not be comfortable asking for help, so we are asking for him, - for support and to rally around the Maestro and Sifu who has made such a difference in our lives.
He is currently going through the FEMA application/assessment process which will take time, but funds are urgently needed now for immediate day to day living expenses and medical needs. Also, if you are in the Jacksonville area, please contact Dino if you know of a house to rent, preferably two bedroom under $1000 where they can have a safe, dry home and space to continue to teach new and existing students.
The road ahead for Dino, as it will be for all affected by Hurricane Irma, will be a long one. What a wonderful thing if Dino's gift of friendship and music and teachings will inspire you to donate what you can, offer words of encouragement, to share this post, and even share information on possible living arrangements and for job opportunities of events/venues/students that need Dino's musical talents.
Any assistance that you can provide to help Dino begin the recovery process is deeply appreciated.
Thank you & Peace! friends and family of the Maestro.
- Rob Hughes
- Direct Impact Fund
- Holly Thomas
- Barb Himes-Wagner
- Barbara Stiffler
Organizer and beneficiary