St. Louis family working to get family members home from St. Tho - KMOV.com

St. Louis family working to get family members home from St. Thomas after Hurricane Irma

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Matthew Willey and his fiancee Tanji Williams are working to bring their children back to St. Louis. (Credit: Family photo) Matthew Willey and his fiancee Tanji Williams are working to bring their children back to St. Louis. (Credit: Family photo)

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com)  - A Webster Groves family is desperately working to bring family members stuck in the Hurricane Irma ravaged island of St. Thomas home to Missouri.

Matthew Willey, originally from St. Louis, his fiancé Tanji Williams and their two children have lived on St. Thomas for four years. Willey works on irrigation systems for hotels on the U.S. Virgin island. When Irma was forecasted to hit their home, they hunkered down and boarded up.

“I still get choked up thinking about those feelings, it was very scary,” said Liz Willey, Matthew’s sister, about the nerves felt waiting for the hurricane to hit.

The category 5 hurricane ripped across the island leaving a path of destruction but the family survived.

“Their house is made of concrete, it survived. The roof is gone but they have four walls. They were under a mattress when it hit,” said Willey.

With power out and communication almost none existent, when Willey heard from her brother she was very thankful.

“I was at work I answered my phone immediately, started jumping up and down saying how excited I was to hear from him because I was so worried.”

A week later and the Willey’ family is still working to get them off the island. Right now, the airport on the island is supposed to open back up on Saturday and they are set to get on an American Airlines flight.

“We’re hoping it takes off,” said Willey.

Life on St. Thomas since Irma has been tough. There’s a curfew in place, they’re only allowed to leave their house six hours a day. The only working cell tower is miles away and the National Guard has arrived to bring supplied but also much-needed security.

Power could take up to six months to come back on.

For now, Willey says her brother and his family will come to St. Louis to figure out their next steps.

“He’s bringing his family to safety and then going to make decisions about what happens next.”

Willey started a GoFundMe page to help with their expenses as they tried to figure out how to rebuild their lives.
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