PTSA Secretary Provides Relief for the Bahamas


Bill Beardslee

PTSA Secretary Bill Beardslee stands with supplies and the rest of his crew in preparation for their journey.

Maia Berthier, Opinion and Copy Editor

In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, individuals and organizations from the United States have stepped in to help out the Bahamian communities left devastated by the storm. The damage that the residents of the Bahamas are currently facing reminds Miami residents of the forces of hurricanes Katrina and Andrew, whose winds paled in comparison to the maximum 180-mile-per-hour gusts hurled by Dorian.

The devastation of the Bahamas was especially heartbreaking for Coral Gables Senior High Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) secretary, Bill Beardslee. The Bahamas’ beautiful beaches and towns were objects of admiration for him and his wife and watching the Bahamians suffer the effects of hurricane Dorian was distressing.

Beardslee, along with many others, took direct action and traveled on boats from Florida’s east coast to help the Bahamas in this time of desperate need.

Bill Beardslee
Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas, leaving the majority of homes completely destroyed.

Since Beardslee’s group was one of the first responders in the Bahamas after the hurricane, they needed to bring supplies based on short term need. The group’s supplies consisted of canned foods, water, generators, first aid kits, and tools. These items were collected through Beardslee’s family and friends. They wished to eliminate a mediator (like the Red Cross Organization) to get the supplies into the Bahamas as soon as possible.

On Beardslee’s trip, the team directly supplied aid to Hope Town, but they plan to reach other critically affected areas on later trips if necessary.

“Although I had not heard of his position on our PTSA before, I am glad to see that there are people in our community that are taking matters into their own hands and helping those who need it the most,” sophomore Jose Fernandez said.

Prior to his arrival, Beardslee did not know what to expect. Beardslee and his group traveled to the Bahamas only a few days after the hurricane hit and realized that families had limited access to resources.

The damage done to the chain of isolated islands had been covered by news stations, but what many people do not realize is that emotional trauma goes far beyond our television screens.

“Imagine all of your belongings being swept away, your house being destroyed and you have been sleeping in a makeshift bed with no air conditioning for the past six nights. Just imagine how fragile the Bahamians’ psyches were,” PTSA secretary Bill Beardslee said.

Bill Beardslee
A group of Bahamians and American volunteers picking up debris after the storm.

Beardslee’s team found the Bahamians in Hope Town to be in rather high spirits considering their circumstances. Beardslee noted that Hope Town had sent up a temporary governmental system to keep order and surprisingly, it worked.

The habitants of Hope Town and the rest of the Bahamas were, and continue to be, united in order to reverse the damage. It will take time, but with the help of Beardslee’s group and many others, it is possible.

“I think that the US is doing a good job in sending hurricane relief to the Bahamas and supporting Bahamians in their time of crisis, especially organizations that are putting in tons of time and effort into inspirational trips to bring much-needed supplies into the Bahamas,” sophomore Hannah Fabing-Gonzalez said.

However, the issue still stands: what will be the next course of action for the Bahamas and how can South Florida residents continue to help? Our PTSA secretary has set an exemplary model for the student body to follow and although what he did may not be attainable for Gables students to do on their lonesome, there are other ways to contribute to the towns in need.

Several students, including our very own news editor Chase Bagnall-Koger, started their Creativity Action Service (CAS) projects surrounding aid provision for the Bahamas. These drives allow Gables students to donate necessities for the Bahamian families.

Student Clubs like National Honor Society, Gables Earth, and Key Club are also doing a joint drive for the Bahamas. They are collecting specific items such as diapers, buckets, and tools to further benefit the families.

During times of need, it is necessary to band together and fight the hardships together. The Bahamian families are not alone on their path to rebuilding all that they have lost. Going out of your way to make a difference by either donating a few items or making a trip to the Bahamas with supplies can alleviate some of the pressure put onto these communities.