1 minute readDisaster

Relief Comes for St. Thomas Resident Just in Time

Story by Nicole Breitbach, American Red Cross

Wilber Payne is a resident of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, who suffers from a chronic heart condition. Typically, his special medicine is flown in from the continental United States. Due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, air transport became limited and his medicine was not able to be delivered to the island. Not knowing where else to turn, Payne reached out to the American Red Cross looking for a solution.

Red Cross volunteers standing with St. Thomas resident
Humberto Benitez, Wilber Payne and Colin Williams

Payne’s request was given to two volunteers, recognizing that it may be challenging to accomplish.  After working with the community hospital in St. Thomas, they were able to communicate with the continental United States to find a way to create and prepare the medicine on the island. Payne was overjoyed to receive the medication, given the severity of the situation.

Red Crossers have been working to help people on the U.S. Virgin Islands since before the storms hit the islands.

  • On the U.S. Virgin Islands, 555 people stayed overnight in 7 shelters.
  • More than 270 Red Cross trained disaster workers are supporting relief efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and over 40 more are on the way.
  • Along with our partners, the Red Cross has served more than 52,000 meals and snacks across the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • We’ve distributed more than 63,000 relief items across the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Red Cross volunteers have provided more than 2,500 mental health and health services to support and care for those affected.