Now we're looking to bring in another $1,000.00 to cover the GoFundMe .com fee. We really want to net $10,000.00 so the campaign goes on. We know of others who want to contribute but who have not done yet. So...the door stays open. Please donate and share. Here is the original story:
I'm Steve Burzon recently from Danby Four Corners, Vermont. In 2016 my wife Nancy and I realized our dream and moved to a rented old Creole House on a small street in the French Quarter of St. Martin, French West Indies.
In a neighborhod populated only by locals -- and as white skinned Americans -- we were initially a curiosity, but after 10 months we became part of the community making friends with neighbors who speak the various languages of the Caribbean. We grew to feel totally at home, welcome, and safe on our sweet little street.
Then came Hurricane Irma with her embedded twisters totally destroying our old wooden house as well as the houses of many of our new friends and neighbors. These people who owned so little now had nothing!
Our neighbor's house to the west of ours; now blown up
This was our kitchen. Scenes like this all over the street
In the days after the storm I walked the little street sharing that as my wife had broken her ankle a week before Irma and now has limited mobility in a knee-high cast - I was hoping for help to clear major debris so I could get her to her doctor. I also mentioned that we were working with no kitchen, no way to cook, and limited food supplies. From that moment on - help appeared!
Nancy stuck at the back of the property...but smiling!
Men left their own families and own rescue work to lift our collapsed house walls and fallen beams to provide passage for my wife. The girls and women of the neighborhood nurtured us daily by providing hot coffee, oatmeal, rice and beans, johnny cakes, stewed chicken, and more. We were treated like royalty - like their own family.
We were then notified of a chance for me and my wife to immediately go to the small French airport in Grand Case for a medical evacuation on a French military transport to Guadeloupe. Then later we would purchase our own tickets for a flight back to the States.
To take this necessary way out, we had to leave our dogs; a heart wrenching decision. Our sweet neighbors told us to go; they would care for them and love them until our return.
A hurried packing and the gift of a ride to the airport in a neighbor’s car and we were off.We are privileged to have a place to stay in the States to recover, a roof over our heads, plenty of food, water, furnishings. Our neighbors however have been left with incalculable loss and yet continue even now to extend their hearts to us as they begin to rebuild and start over. Our sweet little community has come together for each other, and for us as the Americans they have known for only 10 months.
Now is the time for us to look forward and to give back. Especially in view of the smaller -- but powerful visit from Maria right in the heels of Irma -- we have a greater need in helping our unfortunate neighbors rebuild. We are raising money so they can buy the expensive but vital building materials, tools, windows, roofing, doors -- the things they need to provide shelter and safety for their families. Please donate, please help us to help our neighbors. As soon as on-island communications (cell, at least) come back, and as soon as commercial flights re-open, I'll go back to personally distribute the money we raise to my neighbors.
The local governement has appointed 'block captains' who are charged with getting lists of needs from the residents there. I'll work with the one from our street to come up with a fair and equitable distribution.
(Note well -- the monies raised here are not for the rebuilding of a home for my family. We will be moving in November 2017 to another rental - this one owned by a special friend who lives on the Dutch side of the island. We are not raising money here for our own use.)
We realize that there has been so much hurricane and earthquake damage all over that people are torn about where and how to donate to relief. Just do what you can for this little corner of the world. Your gift is personal, targeted to a small but desparate area and every dollar you give will be stetched to limits unseen in the first world society we live in here.
- Diane Mariani
- Terry Farkas
- Tom Birchard
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