MOBILE, Ala (WPMI) — Families in the Bahamas are still in shambles weeks after Hurricane Dorian pummeled their homes in paradise. Right now, thousands of people are gathering supplies to send help to the area, including people from Mobile. A local man who flew his own plane to give aid to those hurting in the Bahamas is sharing his story with NBC 15’s Andrea Ramey.
He didn’t even catch their names but didn’t need to, to know the family standing in front of him needed a ride out Marsh Harbor. Dorian decimated their home.
“They were over the weight and I said we can’t take either one of you all or the bags have to stay. And it was like the quickest answer you’ve ever seen, they all just threw their bags,” said pilot Tom Townsend.
Townsend flew multiple missions in the days after Dorian’s landfall helping deliver supplies and get desperate people out.
“That family after five days after the storm passed, they were still living in 12 inches of water, in their house. So you can imagine trying to have a normal existence,” said Townsend. “None of us could live in that.”
In five missions he brought as much food and water as his plane could carry.
“They said stuff Cheerios in the nooks and crannies because they’re lighter weight,” said Townsend.
Townsend was just one of 400 volunteer pilots coordinated through Aerobridge, which assists in times of catastrophe by getting immediate response to disaster zones. Aerobridge says more than 500,000 pounds of supplies were delivered and more than 300 people were rescued from the Bahamas by volunteers, like Tom.
“It’s one of the great things when you can make a difference,” said Townsend.
Townsend says he plans to return to the Bahamas to help in recovery efforts.
To learn how you can help in these volunteer pilots mission, go HERE.
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