Virgin Islanders Step Up to the Plate During This Crisis

Dear Honorable Governor Mapp:

It is with much gratitude and appreciation for your continued support of our most vulnerable population that I am taking this moment to thank you and your staff for the remarkable job of airlifting the ill and injured off St. Thomas.  Additionally, “Thank You” for announcing to the public that a special needs shelter was available prior to the arrival of the hurricane.  What many cannot see nor hear is the continuous transport of individuals from St. Thomas to St. Croix from early morning until late into the evening over the last several days. It is overwhelming to hear and watch these massive choppers and military aircraft arrive and take off from St. Croix’s airport knowing that were it not for quick thinking and organization we may have lost more lives during and after Hurricane Irma.

We cannot please everyone. People will always have opposing opinions. Unfortunately, that is simply the way some human beings choose to behave. We can, however, always choose to do our very best given the responsibilities of our profession and as citizens of the United States Virgin Islands.  I commend you, Governor, and I commend your staff for your organization and efforts. On behalf of our most vulnerable population and their families here in the Virgin Islands, I am in gratitude for the continued efforts being made to provide help and bring comfort to them.

Please extend a thank you to United States military personnel on our soil tirelessly working and extending care. Extend a heartfelt thank you to the countless medical professionals and government employees working around the clock to save lives and to the quietly caring volunteers extending help to their neighbors and visitors still on our shores. The ultimate “Thank You” goes to God for bringing us through the worst of the storm with far less casualties and destruction of property across the Virgin Islands than expected. My sincere empathy is extended to those who have suffered loss of family, friends and those who have endured property damage.

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Please remind our St. Thomian and St. Johnian brothers and sisters that we, their fellow Virgin Islanders on St. Croix, will continue to keep them in our prayers and extend a helping hand when needed. May the mercy and promises of God quiet their hearts, bring peace when they are most overwhelmed, and may God hear their prayers. Thank you, Governor and may God continue to bless the United States Virgin Islands and the United States of America. Good Job!

Editor’s note: Stephanie Emelia Barnes is the founder and president of Virgin Islands Autism Network as well as the CEO of ABC Behavioral Consulting LLC.

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  1. I had just relocated to St. Thomas on July 2 of this year. We were just getting settled into our new lives- and Irma came. I do see a great deal of response on the ground here but am unsure where it is going. People do not know where to get relief and with no transportation running, there is no way for them to get there. Additionally, what is a mother of a 9 year old autistic child to do about school?


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