In the wake of what is being regarded as the most powerful hurricane to ever hit portions of The Bahamas, packing winds of 185 miles per hour, a couple of The Bahamas’ elite sports stars are stepping forward to provide much needed relief to those in need.
Professional basketball players Chavano “Buddy” Hield and Jonquel Jones have both set up GoFundMe pages, soliciting financial assistance for inhabitants of Grand Bahama and Abaco – the two hardest-hit islands by the deadly hurricane. In addition, Hield in particular is pledging a $100,000 donation through the Buddy Hield Foundation.
Hield hails from Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama, and Jones is from a small settlement a little west of Eight Mile Rock – Holmes Rock. They both came up through the program Helping Our Youth Through Education and Sports (HOYTES) under the tutelage of Gladstone “Moon” McPhee in western Grand Bahama.
In a minute-long video yesterday, Hield expressed a feeling of sadness and sorrow over the turn of events in the northern Bahamas. Up to press time yesterday, the slow-moving hurricane was still hovering over Grand Bahama, ravaging the island of the nation’s second city for more than 30 hours.
“My heart is broken for my country,” said Hield. “Bahamians are one of the strongest sets of people I know, but they still need your help to get through this. I’d like to ask the public at large to join me in bringing a sense of hope. No matter the amount, we are always stronger when we work together.”
Hield is making a heartfelt plea for those who are able to join him in this cause. Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis confirmed five deaths on Abaco on Monday, but according to reports, the death toll is rising.
“Every dollar raised will go toward the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco,” said Hield. “Together, our donations can help improve life, restore hope and basic human needs to these battered areas over the next year. I appreciate your prayers, love and donations for The Bahamas. Thank you guys so much for helping The Bahamas get back to a better place. 242 to the world!”
It is being estimated that damages in the northern Bahamas could be in the billions of dollars. It could be years before the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco are returned to a state of normalcy.
Jones said on Facebook: “Hurricane Dorian has been a disaster and many people in The Bahamas are still left without food, water, clean clothes and shelter. Let’s do what we can to help those in need. #HurricaneDorian relief effort #BahamasStrong #BuddyBuckets #JJ #Abaco #GrandBahama #242totheworld.”
Both Hield and Jones have had progressive seasons for their respective clubs – Hield for the Sacramento Kings and Jones for the Connecticut Sun.
Hield became the Kings’ most prolific three-point shooter ever, connecting on 278 made three-point shots this season, and Jones currently is leading her team into the playoffs with the second-best record in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). She is the only player in the WNBA averaging a double-double and is leading the league in rebounds for the second time in her four-year career.
They both return home each summer to assist with summer camps and the development of basketball in The Bahamas. This year, Hield’s “Hope 24 Elite Basketball Clinic” partnered with the University of The Bahamas (UB) in providing the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the event with a full athletic scholarship to the institution. The camp featured a total of 24 high school basketball players in The Bahamas and was held during the summer at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.
It is expected the partnership between Hield’s camp and UB, for an athletic scholarship, will be an ongoing initiative. The Bahamian basketball star also has outreach programs in Wichita, Kansas, where he played high school basketball with Sunrise Christian Academy; in Norman, Oklahoma, where he played collegiately with the Oklahoma Sooners; and in Sacramento, California, where he plays professionally with the Kings.