CHS Students, Teacher Discusses How Their Families Were Impacted by Hurricane Season

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Over the years, many natural disasters have negatively impacted the United States. However, this hurricane season has been abnormally, powerful destroying communities across the Gulf of Mexico. According to the New York Times, 4 of the 7 hurricanes that have hit this season, were named category 3 or higher, which is considered a major hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The damage resulting from these disasters is costing massive losses of money, homes and lives.

Although Carmel has not been directly affected by the hurricanes, many CHS students and teachers have families that are. Sophomore Calvin Reeder, for example, has two aunts, two uncles and three cousins in Florida, all of which felt the effects of Hurricane Irma. He said his family prepared for the storm by stocking up on food and getting a back up generator.

Reeder said, “The internet went out, the stores were empty, and the roads were filled with water so my family couldn’t travel anywhere.”

The hurricanes’ main devastation, however occurred off the coast.

U.S. history teacher James Ziegler said he has two brothers, one sister-in-law, two nieces and a nephew who live in the Virgin Islands, a U.S. territory that was greatly affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

According to Ziegler, Irma didn’t directly hit his family in the Virgin islands; the hundred miles-per-hour winds passed through simply causing some small damage. However, after the islands were hit by Maria, communication became very difficult and sporadic.

Despite this, Ziegler said he was able speak with his brothers about their role in the relief efforts on the island.

“One thing they have done is taken in families who are displaced, so there is always at least one family staying at one of my brothers’ houses,” Ziegler said.

Additionally, the brothers are also working on cleaning up the area by doing things such as clearing fallen trees from roads.

Even though he as back at home, Ziegler, like his brothers, is also making an effort to assist those affected by this year’s hurricane season. As the sponsor of Do Something Club, Ziegler is currently planning a fundraiser for victims of Maria in Caribbean.

“Unlike areas such as Florida or Texas where we can still truck supplies in, places like the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico, have to get everything by plane or by boat, so a lot of times those people are neglected,” Ziegler said.

Others at CHS also had affected families, such as senior Andy Pagan-Marrero whose family lives in Puerto Rico. According to Pagan-Marrero, 80 percent of his family was affected by Hurricane Irma and Maria. Like Ziegler, he too said communication with his family has been difficult due to power outages that leave them using gas generators for electricity.

“Since there’s not much gas going in there and lines for gas are like eight hours long, it’s physically and mentally impossible to get gas (for generators) anyways,” Pagan-Marrero said.

Still, his family is able to reach him for a daily five minute phone call to update him on what is going on.

Because it is so difficult to get supplies and help to the U.S. territories, Pagan-Marrero said he wants everyone to be active and do something for the people in need.

After the storm, sophomore Calvin Reeder’s family in Florida tries to drive down the street that is flooded with water. Hurricane Maria devastated Florida and Reeder's family there. Submitted by Calvin Reeder.

About the Writer
Caitlyn Burns, Sports Photographer
Hey, everyone! I’m Caitlyn Burns, an Acumen Copy Editor and Sports Photographer, as I also take photos and write for other sections on the HiLite staff. When I’m not at school, you’ll probably see me taking digital photos for the staff, working at Vitality Bowls in downtown Carmel or spending time with my best friends....
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