SILVERTHORNE, Colo. – A Colorado couple is asking for the community’s help rebuilding a small village in the Bahamas torn apart in Hurricane Dorian.
Susan and Calvin Stewart live most of the year in Silverthorne skiing, fishing and enjoying mountain life. For the past several years, they have been vacationing on a pristine stretch of beach on the east side of Grand Bahama Island called Pelican Point.
“Very quickly we fell in love with not only the area but the people that were there,” Calvin said.
The couple decided to purchase a second home in the community. They spend two or three months in the Bahamas each year.
Pelican Point has nearly been wiped off of the map following Hurricane Dorian. At least half of the homes, the church and the restaurant are gone.
“It looks like a nuclear bomb went off. It’s scoured clean. It looks like the dessert. All the greenery is gone,” Susan said.
Susan and Calvin were at their home in Silverthorne when the island was hit.
“It feels surreal. I think I’m in denial just because we’re here and all we’re seeing is pictures,” Susan said.
This part of the Bahamas isn’t built for tourists. It’s about 45 minutes away from Freeport. And the locals aren’t wealthy.
“People get money and they add the next wall or they add the roof or they add the window,” Susan said. “It took [our neighbor] eight years to build his house, a dollar at a time.”
That home is now gone and the couple fears it will take their neighbor even longer to rebuild.
“They couldn’t afford hurricane insurance, so they have no insurance,” she said.
The couple started a GoFundMe account in hopes of collecting enough money to help the small village begin to rebuild right away.
“The easy part for me is: I know how walls get built. I know how wiring is done,” Calvin said. “The hard part is going to be sitting with people as you take their homes apart and look at their pictures.”
Calvin plans to go to Pelican Point on Friday for an assessment of the damage. The couple will use the next few weeks to organize a recovery plan and will return in November to begin working on cleanup and construction.
In addition to money, they are asking for a volunteer with fundraising experience to help them organize and coordinate the recovery effort in Pelican Point.