Hero: A person distinguished for exceptional courage, fortitude, or bold enterprise.

It had been raining for several days, and it seemed as if the night would be a typical evening of clean up after dinner, spending a few hours finishing up some work she brought home from school, and then relaxing with a favorite book to complete the evening before retiring for the night. It ended up as the most terrifying night of her life. As Beverly F., school secretary at Dupont, turned out her reading light and walked into her bedroom, she suddenly became aware of water on the floor of her bedroom. Within a matter of minutes, the water began to rise and was soon moving up her legs. Ms. F. realized she only had minutes to gather her shoulder purse which held most of her important papers, documents, and records and vacate her home for safe ground. When she went to her front door, she heard the wind and rain pounding the door and front of the house, so she reminded herself to remain calm, as she reached for the keys to open the two doors of her home. Immediately, after opening the solid front door, she was knocked to the floor by the force of the water rushing in through the barred door. As she tried to stand up she realized she had dropped her keys and was unable to open the outer door.

With the water now up to her shoulders, Beverly had to dive under water three times to recover the keys which were now buried in the muck and silt pouring into her house. On the third attempt she found the keys and miraculously opened the grated door and was instantly swept out into the raging river. After failing twice to climb up the eroding river bank, she was plucked out of the water by two young neighbors, and stood by helplessly watching as all her possessions floated past her.

The next morning with borrowed clothes from her neighbors, Beverly made her way to school by walking and taking public transportation.  Her main concern was to see that the students who received free lunches were fed that day, and that the school day would not be disrupted by her absence. Throughout the entire tragedy Ms. F. exhibited a calm and inspirational demeanor and constantly counted all her blessing. Truly, Beverly F. is an example of a hero in every sense of the word. Finally, with the help of generous donations from parishioners of St. John’s and Jamaica Outreach Program, Beverly is beginning the process of replacing the many possessions she lost, and is eternally grateful for these acts of kindness and compassion.