Blacksburg paramedic helping St. Maarten recover from storm

Published: Sep. 19, 2017 at 6:54 PM EDT
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One paramedic from our area is in St. Maarten now helping the island recover from Hurricane Irma's destruction.

Patrick Jones has a personal connection there. Many family friends live on the island and he has spent many vacations there.

The widespread damage is heartbreaking to see.

Patrick Jones showed us what's left of the island from his point of view during a Skype interview Tuesday. The winds from upcoming Hurricane Maria howling in the background.

He joins a small group of friends there who took relief supplies and are helping restore power and water to people who live on the island.

"We have worked on getting the generators right back up online and we got a cistern working again so that way they can have running water," Jones said.

Jones sent us pictures showing the magnitude of Hurricane Irma. He toured the island by helicopter to see the damage from above. Video he recorded shows houses torn apart and debris littering what used to be neighborhoods.

"The entire island is completely damaged. I would say that most of the houses either don't have roofs or ... windows are out entire houses and entire blocks are completely flattened," Jones said.

While Jones is a volunteer at the Blacksburg Rescue Squad and a student at Jefferson College of Health Sciences, he went to St. Maarten with some friends on their own to help with hurricane relief.

Jones is planning to leave the island Wednesday. He says all flights were suspended to and from the island Tuesday because of Hurricane Maria.