As track and field athlete Jakara Davidson-Brooks was starting her sophomore year at Webster University, Hurricane Irma ravaged her hometown of Sanford, Florida.
Davidson-Brooks said Hurricane Irma was the worst hurricane to hit her hometown since Hurricane Charley in 2004.
“This affected my hometown by making it a complete disaster,” Davidson-Brooks said. “My family went without power for at least five days after the hurricane struck. My home had damage, but not too much damage. A couple of shingles came off and the master bedroom had a lot of water in it.”
Davidson-Brooks’ family was able to stay at a hotel while damages to their house where being repaired. She said she will go back to visit during fall break.
According to Davidson-Brooks, the St. John’s River flooded and her hometown of Sanford is still affected by it. She said recovery efforts are still getting taken care of.
“We have a lot of tropical storms, but they are not major, though,” Davidson-Brooks said. “It’s rare we get a hit by a hurricane.”
On the way to Florida, Hurricane Irma hit Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos Island and Cuba. The storm just missed the Bahamas.
Senior men’s basketball player Dominic Newton is from the Bahamas and said Hurricane Irma missed his hometown of Freeport at the last minute.
“A couple of years back we were devastated by hurricanes,” Newton said. “This one was a category five and we were really worried. My mother said she was trying to get out of the country, but couldn’t because the airlines were shut down.”
Davidson-Brooks said track and field coaches Nick Niehaus and Daniel Graber both reached out to her to see how she was doing after the hurricane. She also said her teammates have shown support.
Davidson-Brooks said she would have liked to seen more action from the athletics department and university. She also said she was not sure if the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hurricane raffle would help since she did not know where the money would go.
“I would have like to have seen sympathy for impacted families and at least donations made to families in Florida,” Davidson-Brooks said. “Not just affected families of Webster University, but all families in the Florida area.”
Newton had a different view and said he was happy the SAAC and the basketball team was taking part in hurricane relief.
“While I was in the library, one of the workers said that people were sending clothes and stuff of that nature,” Newton said. “It’s not really the clothes that people need, it is the non-perishable food, water and basic necessities that people need. Anytime that people take a stand to help those who suffered something they couldn’t avoid, I think it is awesome.”
Raffle winners announced
SAAC member Katlyn Garza said she has worked with different athletic teams and public safety to put together prizes for the raffle.
“The main winner gets a reserved parking spot for a week,” Garza said. “Then we have apparel the teams donated to give out to people who took part in the raffle.”
The main winner of the reserved parking spot was Janka Ribando. Austin Dudley, Luisa Mercado, Josh Ray, David Stephens and Kira Thompson won apparel prizes and oops parking lot vouchers.
The money collected in the raffle donations will be dispersed to hurricane victims in Florida, Puerto Rico and Texas by Operations USA.