Local Disaster Relief Nonprofit Ships Fire Engine To The Bahamas

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (February 7, 2020) – A generous donation from the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is helping fund the latest supplies to victims impacted from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas from West Palm Beach-based Eagles’ Wings Foundation (EWF). EWF currently has a Vietnam-era landing craft docked at the Port of Palm Beach, filled with construction materials and a Class A fire engine for North Abaco. The ship will set sail on February 7, 2020.

 “It’s not smooth sailing in the Bahamas yet,” said Scott Lewis, President and Founder of EWF, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that specializes in disaster relief efforts. “In this half of Abaco and since the storm, locals have been fighting house fires with 5-gallon, bucket brigades fed from a trash pump taken over when we arrived on initial deployment.  We are very excited to be sending over a Class A fire engine, which will be the first one in the northern district since Dorian struck.”

EWF, with the support from the Community Foundation and the United Way of Palm Beach is also the primary donor to reconstruct the first high school scheduled to re-open on Abaco since the catastrophic strike. The classroom construction is underway, and the students should be back in school by April 2020.

Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas over three months ago, when the category 5 storm stalled over Grand Bahama and Great Abaco island, killing at least 60 people and leaving thousands more displaced. While parts of the two islands have begun to rebuild, harder-hit areas like Marsh Harbor still are working to remove about 1.9 million yards of cubic debris. Organizations like EWF continue to provide aid to the region; in the past three months alone, EWF has sent over 24 shipping containers and an additional 200 tons of supplies to the island including holiday toys, but the need for support continues.

EWF is a multi-faith certified public foundation, and 100% of donations go to relief efforts. There are no paid staff members. Lewis and his organization are very well known for the immediate response and high impact relief efforts following disasters in the Caribbean and Bahamas, including the Haiti Earthquake of 2010, Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and Hurricane Ike in 2008, among others. The group has also provided relief efforts in the United States following Hurricane Katrina, Fukushima, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Many of the downtown businesses collected funds last year and their generous donations are subsidizing the fuel costs for the EWF delivery missions. “West Palm Beach has close ties to the Bahamas and to Eagles’ Wings Foundation,” said Raphael Clemente, Executive Director of the DDA, which is assisting EWF’s efforts. “Like many of our residents, the DDA feels called to do everything we can to help the people of Abaco as they continue to recover from Hurricane Dorian.”

EWF is still accepting monetary donations and building materials that assist directly with their efforts to rebuild the Abaco community. For more information, visit www.ewfrelief.org or call (561)855-4222. 

About the Downtown Development Authority

The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities.

For more information about the DDA or Downtown West Palm Beach, please visit downtownwpb.com or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873.