Local couple helping people stuck on St. John after Irma

JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – Hurricane Irma brought physical destruction across Florida and the Caribbean, and some families are unable to communicate with their loved ones.

It’s been a few days since the storm hit, but Betsie and Bill Clary are still breathing sighs of relief.

“They’re lucky to be alive,” Bill says.

Their daughter Emily, and her husband Kyle, just moved to St. John two months ago after meeting and living in Williamsburg. They’re chefs at the Caneel Bay Resort and were unable to leave before the storm hit.

Betsie says her daughter Emily was in tears when they finally spoke. She said Emily told her it was the scariest thing she had ever gone through and that they sat in their bathtub for four hours while the storm passed.

“Their apartment was destroyed, but they were not,” Betsie says.

Plus, once the storm hit, all lines of communication were cut.

“Last week was probably the toughest week I’ve had being a mom,” says Betsie. “Just with the unknown.”

The Clary’s first contacted the resort where Emily and Kyle work and learned they were both alive. Soon after, Emily and Kyle found a way to FaceTime their parents, but it was brief.

“To see their faces, but then that was it. With the communication, the phone went out, but I looked at Bill and said, ‘They’re alive,” says Betsie.

That was Thursday, and since then they’ve only been able to speak with them a few times. While they know they’re alive, their new question becomes: how can they help?

“You just don’t know what the needs are,” Bill says.

They say it’s back to basics — they’re collecting money to send down there to help with whatever people need, whether its food, water, clothes, or supplies.

They know Emily and Kyle won’t be back for a while. In fact, they’re expecting them to stay until the island they call home is rebuilt.