Milford Native Becomes Advocate for Hurricane Relief in Virgin Islands

Grand Celebration contract workers are without a job

Now at her parents' home in Madison, Manes is anxious about how her island home will fare because of Hurricane Maria.

In an executive order signed Wednesday, Gov. Eric Greitens directed the adjutant general to activate soldiers as part of a request from the U.S. Virgin Islands for aid.

A specific plan for the soldiers was not immediately available Thursday, but the order adds that the soldiers could also assist with cleaning up damage from the hurricane.

The impact of Hurricane Irma and Marie in the Caribbean is severely testing the resilience of the region.

Gear was indeed there for the island animals every step of the way. she evacuated more than 300 dogs and cats that had been gathered on St. Thomas after she arranged for boats to pick them up from the other two islands. Originally, she planned to fly groups of 20 animals gathered from St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix up to the continental USA every day for a week following Irma's land fall. "So when I watched Irma build up, I called the shelters ahead of time and said, 'Hey, I'm here for you'".

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She now lives on a farm in Virginia Beach, where she runs Island Dog Rescue, which finds homes in the U.S. for abandoned Caribbean dogs. Others met at Gear's farm to take them to their new homes in places like Boston, Pittsburgh and Charlotte, N.C.

'I did it because it had to be done, ' she told the Pilot. "People have moved heaven and earth to make this happen". She has worked with Gear before to rescue dogs from the Virgin Islands. Island residents who spoke to HuffPost described the aftermath as "post-apocalyptic" and "barren".

Gear, who says she is physically exhausted but spiritually full from the impressive rescue effort, knows that her work helping the animals affected by these hurricanes is far from over.

In addition to rescue groups, local high schoolers organized to help Gear's mission.


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