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'I'm desperate to hug them' | Pinellas County woman worries about entire family in the Bahamas

Posted at 8:05 PM, Sep 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-04 20:08:13-04

PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Darlene Hiatt says she’s heard her parents, who live in the Bahamas, are OK. But she wants to do more than just talk to them on the phone.

“I’m more desperate to hug them,” Hiatt said.

Darlene’s family goes back generations in the Bahamas.

She grew up in Marsh Harbor. Got married there. Even her dog was born there.

She’s spent the last few days wondering how those she loves are doing after Hurricane Dorian.

“My brother before we lost communication with him, the last text messages were the house is falling apart, I gotta get out of here, but the wind is too strong. I need the eye,” she said.

Darlene says she literally has hundreds of relatives in the Bahamas.

And the family Cul-de-sac has just one home left standing.

“We found out yesterday that one of cousins, their house isn’t there anymore and they can’t find them,” she said.

Darlene is already planning how to get to her family.

She’s a nurse practitioner and is ready to bring medical supplies.

“Being able to be a part of bringing supplies together and trying to bring relief over there has been a way for us to cope for sure for all of us that are here on this side,” she said.

Darlene says the islands have dealt with hurricanes before, but nothing like this.

“Everything is gone. The entire downtown is gone.”

She says she believes her family and others there will rebuild.

She just doesn’t know how.

“It was beautiful and it will be beautiful.”

There is a GoFundMe page set up to help those in Marsh Harbor.