By: Sophia Hernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
September 17, 2019
THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WCTV) -- Hurricane Dorian slammed into the Bahamas 17 days ago. The damage on the Abaco Islands left homes completely destroyed.
The Bahamian Prime Minister said that much of the island no longer exists. The official death toll stands at 50, with 42 of those deaths taking place on the Abacos, now there is an estimated 13-hundred names still on the missing list.
One island in particular, Green Turtle Cay, is home to about 450 Bahamians who are struggling to recover after Hurricane Dorian.
One family from that island, the Smiths, received a helping hand from one Thomasville family, the Carraways. That family has been flying donations and supplies to their second home since the storm, and on Tuesday, they brought the family back to Thomasville.
The Smith family says they never planned to be here in the states, that they love their home. But because of the devastation, they needed a break and the Carraway family was there to help them do just that.
Julie Smith was born and raised in Green Turtle and Hurricane Dorian's impact was something she never thought she would experience, "Winds that I mean vibrated your home and afterward it was like a war zone."
Smith also saying, "The island which was once vibrant and beautiful is now you know; unbelievable."
Julie and her family fly in from the island to escape the devastation that affected every home in her neighborhood.
Thankfully, her home saw minimal impact, yet the sadness and heartbreak was immense, "I think for us really just getting away and to realize that there are other places that don't look like this right now and just looking back."
That's where Wilson Carraway comes in. On his third trip to his home away from home, Carraway met up with the Smiths, "I was riding around town in a golf cart and I had never really met them before I saw their picture."
Smith shares she saw the friendly face helping on the island from his previous trips. When her friend in Tallahassee called to tell her a friend of friend could bring them to Tallahassee, she never thought it would be Carraway.
Her having someone that knew the real Green Turtle was something she says she needed, "You know just seeing pictures of the fun times they had their reminding us that it can be like that again."
But the current state of their home was taking a toll on her family, including her 16-year-old daughter Tianna and son Reagan, who was not able to celebrate his 15th birthday because of the storm, "This is difficult for her and my son just seeing this and all their friends have basically left the island to seek schools in other areas, their school has been destroyed. So we just hope its a temporary thing and that it gets fixed fast."
Carraway says the island's needs are changing everyday, now in need of timber and fresh food, "It makes you realize how much help they do need and how much help they are getting when you see everyone at the airport bringing supplies."
That aid appreciated by Smith and her family of four, "There have been some really kind-hearted people that have decided to give us a little break so that we can regroup basically."
Now, the family hopes to take some time to regroup and focus on their future, "That Green Turtle gets fixed really fast but until then that we can have some piece of mind or some sort of normalcy for the kids especially."
The Smiths, for the time being, will be staying with friends of friends in Tallahassee. Smith says that she is just thankful that no one died on the island, but the destruction reminded her of what life is all about.
The Carraway family is continuing to collect donations and will be making more trips in the future.