Worried Waterloo Mom Waits Out Her Son’s Ordeal On St. Thomas

Mabel Hunsberger was on the phone with her son when Hurricane Irma began to pummel the U.S. Virgin Islands, recalling the banging of shutters and his concerned voice through the receiver.
“He was in the bathroom and we were communicating minute by minute,” said the Waterloo resident. “Then we lost contact.”
Four hours later, Jason Hunsberger, a 39-year-old surf shop and charter service owner who has lived in St. Thomas for three years, texted via WhatsApp, “I’m alive . . . I am not injured. Love you both.”
In the time that passed between their messages Wednesday, she said her son went through another harrowing episode where he witnessed the roof of his three-storey condo building being sheered off by powerful winds.
“Car windows are blown out, hydro lines are all over the place,” he said in a phone call Saturday afternoon. “There’s been massive infrastructure damage. There are four dead dolphins on the beach.”
Hunsberger braved the storm in his condo, drilling holes in the floor to let the floodwater drain, he said.
 “It wasn’t a thought process, it was survival. I’m not doing well. Our generators keep failing. We’re trying to transport water to our cisterns,” he said.
“The worst part is that we do not have a good way of communicating with him,” said Hunsberger’s mother, adding that she has received messages from her son from numbers she doesn’t recognize.
She said her son was determined to stay in St. Thomas to preserve his businesses, assured that his condo would be relatively safe.
“I am doing OK emotionally, but it is draining,” he wrote in a message to his mom. “I am faring well — better than most, but there is still a long way to go”.
Source: Metro News/Torstar
Photo: © Family photo

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