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‘They have nothing,’ Purnell says after trip to lend aid in Bahamas

Homes remain decimated more than a month after Hurricane Dorian, a category 5 storm, hit the Bahamas on Sept. 1. Berlin Councilman and property owner Troy Purnell traveled to the Bahamas last month to help with relief and rebuilding efforts on Green Turtle Cay.

By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer

(Oct. 3, 2019) Berlin Councilman Troy Purnell saw the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian when he traveled to the Bahamas last month to help victims rebuild their homes and lives.

“More importantly, we came down to help the people that have lost everything, and I mean everything,” Purnell said. “Houses flattened. They have nothing.”

The Category 5 storm battered the islands with wind speeds up to 185 mph as it hovered over portions of the Bahamas for about two days starting on Sept. 1.

Purnell said he flew down with Adam Showell, owner of the Green Turtle Club Resort on Green Turtle Cay. Along with Purnell, Showell assembled a team of carpenters, an electrician and a builder on site already in the Bahamas.

“[Showell] called me and said, ‘Hey, can you give us a hand?’ And I said, ‘absolutely,’ and I dropped what I was doing, and flew down there with him,” Purnell said.

Purnell said they landed on Treasure Cay on Sept. 18, and returned to the U.S. on Friday, Sept. 27.

Purnell said they spent 10 days putting roofs on different properties and cleaning up debris. He added they also distributed food and clothing to those who were left with neither. Purnell said he also saw supplies pouring in from public and private donors.

“It’s a very humbling experience,” he said. “I can tell you these people … watched everything they’ve ever worked for and had just blown away in one storm. It’s pretty bad.”

The Showell family’s Green Turtle Club Resort on Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas was “badly damaged” by Dorian, but their more immediate concern was helping the island’s residents, which they did by starting an online crowdfunding campaign for that purpose. For more information, visit the GoFundMe page at

This article was updated to reflect the resort was badly damaged, not destroyed by Hurricane Dorian. Purnell said it’s expected to reopen by March 2020.