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Palm Beach Co. volunteers working to 'Bring Back the Bahamas'

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Palm Beach Co. volunteers working to 'Bring Back the Bahamas' (WPEC)

Volunteers with the Bahamas Relief Cruise continue to assist in recovery efforts on Grand Bahamas Island as the needs of the island change, some three months after Hurricane Dorian stalled over the Bahamas.

A Bahamas Paradise Cruise ship, the Grand Celebration, docked in Freeport on Friday morning for the 12th aid mission the ship has participated in. The recovery efforts are part of a partnership between the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, the Palm Beach County based Bahamas Relief Cruise, and CBS 12 News.

As the island slowly rebuilds, skilled volunteers are still needed, Bahamas Relief Cruise Co-Founder Thierry Beaud told CBS12 News. Volunteers with medical and construction backgrounds are badly needed.

Most other aid organizations have seemingly pulled out of Grand Bahama’s badly damaged East Side. The Bahamas Relief Cruise is the only organization providing constant medical care to offset the island’s damaged hospital, volunteers said.

“They don’t have the tools, they don’t have the equipment, they don’t have a full functioning hospital. So, patient care is being delayed,” said Brittany Reidy, Medical Director for the Bahamas Relief Cruise.

Reidy praised local doctors for still helping patients, despite a lack of resources. Bahamas Relief Cruise Medical volunteers have partnered with local hospital staff to help with care and provide hope.

“[We] show them that they’re not forgotten. And, just be able to to what I went into healthcare for,” Reidy said.

Ricardo McPhee can speak to the hope medical care can give. He met Bahamas Relief Crews volunteers in his job at the port. McPhee is a double amputee from diabetes.

On Friday morning, medical workers with the relief cruise and a the charity “Hope to Walk,” which specializes in low-cost prosthetics in underprivileged areas, gave McPhee two new legs.

“I was just thinking how wonderful, how remarkable god is to bring people into my life like this,” McPhee said.

He stood for the first time on his tile floor, still slightly slippery from the on and off island rain.

“It feels good,” McPhee said through teary, blurry eyes.

Further east, on Grand Bahamas' badly damaged East Side, locals have spent every day of the past three months clearing and rebuilding.

At Ejays Bayside Cafe, two men rebuilding say they’re grateful for volunteers who have stopped by to lend a hand. One young volunteer even organized a social media campaign to repair the roofs of the restaurant and the owner’s home across the street.

Grand Bahamas' east end is a mixture of hope and heartbreak. On one street, you’ll find home’s that are almost back to normal, nestled next to empty shells of places that will likely never be lived in again.