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USM Graduate Student Helping Raise Money for Hurricane Dorian Victims

Mon, 09/23/2019 - 17:04pm | By: Van Arnold

Troy-Ann MottWhen University of Southern Mississippi graduate student Troy-Ann Mott learned of the devastation wreaked upon her homeland – The Bahamas – by Hurricane Dorian, she immediately sprang into action.

A native of Nassau, Bahamas, with family still living in the region, Mott has joined forces with Bahamian friends at the University of Arkansas to raise money for students impacted by the hurricane. Mott earned her undergraduate degree in audiology at Arkansas where she served as President of The Caribbean Students Association.

The group has set a fund-raising goal of $150,000 that will be used to purchase all-inclusive school boxes designed to aid 3,000 students at a cost of $50 per box. Thus far, a little more than $1,800 has been pledged.

Hurricane Dorian struck the Abaco Islands as a Category 5 hurricane on Sept. 1, and a day later hit Grand Bahama Island at the same category. The hurricane then stalled over Grand Bahama for another day, finally pulling away from the island on Sept. 3. Damage has been estimated at more than $7 billion. At least 50 residents were killed, with hundreds still missing.

Photos of the catastrophic damage to the region left Mott shaken and bewildered.

“I was in complete disbelief. I was heartbroken for my country,” she said. “The Bahamas has never experienced a hurricane of this magnitude. We have witnessed natural disasters from around the world and would never have thought that we would have endured such a harrowing experience. I felt compelled to do something when I saw the devastation.”

Mott has been in constant contact with family members back in The Bahamas. Fortunately, none of her relatives or close friends perished in the storm. However, practically all of them incurred serious damage to their homes.

As part of the fund-raising campaign, Mott and fellow students will have a table set up on Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Shoemaker Square on USM’s Hattiesburg campus.

Mott emphasizes that all types of donations will be accepted – not just monetary. Anyone can donate electronically by visiting GoFundMe page here:

Also, contributions can be made to the Bahamas Consulate in Atlanta, 970 Clearmont Rd. NE, Suite 290, Atlanta, GA 30329.

While pursuing her Doctor of Audiology degree at USM, Mott dreams of someday opening her own private practice in The Bahamas. But right now, much of her focus is on helping to rebuild the homes and lives of those victimized by Hurricane Dorian.

“Bahamians are the most resilient people I know,” she said. “However, they need our help to rebuild. Many people have visited my country and have loved the warmth and beauty of The Bahamas and its people. I encourage everyone to please donate and help us to rebuild. No amount is too small.”