Sept. 5, 2019 – Within hours of Hurricane Dorian pummeling the Bahamas, a group of Broward-based community leaders began planning relief efforts that will commence as soon as the storm passes the devastated island chain. The core group is comprised of individuals donating their time and resources, with experience in disaster relief. All bringing different skill sets and contacts to the table, the group’s working name of “Hope 4 Hope Town,” has secured a fleet of vessels ranging from boats (65 to 185 feet in length), cargo planes, helicopters, seaplanes, private charters and barges up to 300 feet in length.
A collection of specific supplies is taking place at locations around Fort Lauderdale and a GoFundMe page has been set up to collect monetary donations that are being run through The Roger Jennings Davis Memorial Fund, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization in connection with Songwriters In Paradise Hope Town (SIP Hope Town) that has been fundraising and donating to causes in the Abacos for years. The “Hope 4 Hope Town” fund has amassed over $150,000 within 24 hours of its formation.
Deployment of collected equipment and supplies will begin Wednesday, September 4, with reconnaissance efforts happening beforehand to assess where boats can dock and where planes may be able to land or safely drop supplies. The first efforts will be targeted towards the smallest barrier islands. The group already has contacts on each island to assist with on-the-ground deployment of supplies. A team of volunteers including doctors, veterinarians, engineers and paramedics will also be arriving as soon as they can safely be brought in. All funds collected are going to be used to purchase supplies in bulk as well as any large equipment needed. All items are being brought in without VATs, customs or entry fees.
Those involved in these efforts are: Chris Rotella, Mike Rotella, Bill Pace and Bill Rotella from the Rotella Group; Julie Berry from Marina Investments Group-Stiles Realty; Kaisa Pace from Churchill Yachts; Zander & Molly White from Z&M Development; Brett Rose from United National Consumer Supplies; Scott Young from Tropic Ocean Airways; Shelly Tygielski, Bob Denison from Denison Yachts; Kevin from Divers Direct; Leah and Chris Carroll from Atlantic Yacht & Ship, Inc.; Troy Menken from Jetscape; Ed Stobel from Sunshine Solar Services; Julian and Lisa Siegel from The Riverside Market; Durée Ross of Durée & Company, and Songwriter Patrick Davis who is based in Nashville and runs the SIP Hope Town Music Festival.