By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
BAHAMAS Relief Cruise is continuing its ongoing relief mission from West Palm Beach to Grand Bahama, helping with the rebuilding of homes and a local business on the island.
Melisa Brennan and Brian Villelia, representatives of Bahamas Relief Cruise, were in Grand Bahama recently coordinating all the logistical work and supplies for their relief mission in East End.
According to Ms Brennan, logistical coordinator, BRC has secured a grant and sponsorship from Subculture Restaurant Group owned by Rodney Mayo, one of the founders of BRC, to construct housing containers for two families whose homes were destroyed by Dorian.
The containers will be transformed into homes, consisting of two bedrooms, one bath, and a kitchen, and will be fully furnished, and with a power generator.
"These container houses are being constructed to weather the most severe storms and will be resistant to flooding by incorporating waterproof building materials," Ms Brennan said.
"These housing containers will be the first permanent new structures in Grand Bahama since the storm and will be donated completely free to two Bahamian families on March 28," she added.
Ms Brennan believes the containers could be a starter home for Bahamians wishing to return to their properties and establish some normalcy.
"These container houses will create a permanent residence that a family can expand on and help re-establish the neighbourhoods that were lost due to the storm,' she said.
Communities in East Grand Bahama have been wiped out by the storm. Houses and buildings were swept off their foundations by flood water, leaving many residents displaced.
Since early September, BRC has been organising missions to Grand Bahama through a partnership with Bahamas Celebration, bringing building materials, food, and medical supplies and medical assistance to victims in Grand Bahama.
In addition to assisting with home restoration, BRC representatives have committed to helping with the restoration of a local restaurant EJ's, owned by Joe Thomas, of East End.
Ms Brennan is back now in Palm Beach organising a team of volunteers for a trip on March 18 to assist with home rebuilding in the eastern part of the island.
Local Bahamian contractor Kevin Ferguson commended the group for what they are doing and pledged his support by agreeing to provide labour for the rebuilding cause in East End.
He is appealing to other local contractors and construction companies to also donate or volunteer one day of labour to restoration and reconstruction of McLean's Town, High Rock, and the other affected settlements.
"If they can come from West Palm Beach with many building materials and volunteer their services and leave their businesses to come to help us, it is only fitting that some of our contractors and business people lend a hand and give some of their time too, to help restore East End. If we can get 10 contractors we could really bring some hope to East End," Mr Ferguson said.
Ms Brennan said BRC has been at the forefront since its first mission helping Bahamians with passage to Florida on Bahamas Celebration after the hurricane.
"The Bahamas Relief Cruise is a 100 percent volunteer organisation and we want to continue to assist and to encourage locals to step in and assist us with our efforts here in Grand Bahama. It is very important," she said.
In the earlier missions, the group has provided some 90 generators and supplies and brought pallets of water, food, and other supplies which were distributed to Grand Bahamians.
"We also brought 50 doctors with us and provided medical services, insulin for people, and delivered a baby on the road. We brought 1,300 Bahamians back to Florida and we offered shelter for a lot of families as well," she said.
Ms Brennan stated that their volunteer medical teams have provided prosthetic legs to seven people in December, and will return on March 15 to provide prosthetic legs to 14 more individuals.