Students Help Bahamian Orphans From Hurricane Dorian

Bahamas relief mission

A committee was formed after Hurricane Dorian to organize the American Heritage School Delray campus’ relief response.  Phase 1 included collecting supplies after the hurricane and sending them to Fort Lauderdale for immediate shipment to those urgently in need.  Next, the committee, chaired by Headmaster Robert Stone, Sally Schleifer, parent Holly Mattson and her company Tropic Ocean Airway, worked together to make preparations for the school’s Phase 2 hurricane relief effort. This included picking up, loading, and delivering hurricane relief supplies to multiple locations in Palm Beach and Broward Counties.  

Beginning last Saturday, September 21st, relief committee members Robert Stone, Holly Mattson, Carlos Pulido and Clint Russell traveled to the Fort Lauderdale Airport and collected supplies onto a large U-Haul and into two SUV’s for transport to the Bahamas.  In addition, on Monday, September 23rd, Robert Stone, Sally Schleifer, and Dr. Pulido were able to go to the local WalMart to purchase $2,000 of additional supplies requested by the orphanages that the school was committed to helping. The money was donated by the Upper and Lower School PTO and various school families.      

The transfer of goods was made possible by American Heritage parents Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Doyle, who generously offered their family-owned airline to fly our supplies to Nassau free of charge. On Tuesday, September 24th, the supplies were received at the aircraft hangar by David Elder, the head of ground operations for Staniel Air. 

While unloading supplies at Staniel Air, an emergency call came in for food and water for 500 survivors stranded on the Bahamian island of Grand Cay, Bahamas. Thankfully, there was still a truckload of supplies left to be distributed, so Mr. Stone and Sally Schleifer drove the truck to  Pompano Air Park and helped load another relief plane, owned by Carmen O’Conner of Plane Travel Air, who flew the supplies to Walker’s Cay where they were loaded onto small boats bound for Grand Cay. Many locals came to pick the supplies up and were overjoyed to receive the aid.

Back at home, donations continued coming in. These additional supplies were delivered to Celebration Cruise Line in West Palm Beach, which were shipped to the Bahamas on Wednesday, September 25th.

On Thursday, September 26th, a group of 34 American Heritage administrators, faculty members, students, and parents traveled to Nassau, Bahamas to see the relief efforts firsthand. They had the opportunity to meet with Greg Burrows Sr., whose son and 21 other Bahamian American Heritage School graduates linked up with our current students and staff to deliver the supplies to the orphanages. They were able to organize and distribute supplies on the ground level directly to the orphanages who were thrilled and grateful for our visit!  

This entire relief project was truly a team effort that could not have been possible without the generosity of our entire American Heritage family. A special thank you to Robert Stone, Sally Schleifer, Holly Mattson, Carlos Pulido, the Doyle family, Clint Russell, Maria Cavallo, Hope Gheorge, Michael Appelbaum, the crew from 909 Live, and everyone who generously donated supplies and volunteer hours. We are proud to have made a positive impact on the communities that are so desperately in need, and we will continue to send updates on plans for future assistance as the people of the Bahamas begin to rebuild.