Tragically they lost everything in the devastation - from their dive business to their home. What wind didn't destroy, rain and seawater did. They had no insurance as rates were cost-prohibitive - and Keith now has no health insurance and does not qualify for social security. Although they had no immediate plans to retire, the income from eventually selling their business and home was going to provide their retirement security. Now they have nothing to sell.
We know there are many who hold these people and this special dive operation in their hearts and have forever memories of time spent diving/snorkeling with Captain Keith over the past 28 years, and now it is our turn to show how much they are cared for and loved in return. It is an urgent and distressing situation - and every contribution counts.
Keith and Melinda find themselves in serious financial need. We are reaching out to all who would like to help - their friends, family, past guests (many of whom have become friends) and those who are as heartbroken as we are about the devastation by donating whatever they can. Their livelihood ended on Sunday, September 1, 2019.
Many guests are inquiring about Ash and James who worked alongside Captain Keith. As many of you know, they were an integral part of the DIVE ABACO! family and, although both survived, sadly James lost 8 of his 12 family members who were sheltering together. Melinda and Keith plan to help them, hoping they eventually will be employed as part of the reconstruction effort. Until then, they too are in need of financial support.
Background: On September 1, 2019, Hurricane Dorian barreled through Great Abaco as a monster Category 5 hurricane packing sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts of 225 mpg. In many parts of the island, particularly in the Marsh Harbour area, there was catastrophic destruction and little was left standing in its wake. Most sadly, there was also a yet undetermined number who lost their lives and thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed.
All donations will go directly to Captain Keith and Melinda to help rebuild their lives. It will be years before the infrastructure in Marsh Harbour is ready for business and tourism to return to Abaco. Until then, they have no income.
I have been in contact with Melinda about setting up this GoFundMe page. For verification, or should you have any questions or want to support in any other way please reach out to Melinda or Keith directly at 386.957.7902
- Virginia Rice
- Linda Fields
- William Ryan
- Michelle Applehans
Organizer and beneficiary
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