HENRICO COUNTY, Va. – Hurricane Irma has left a Henrico woman stranded in the Caribbean.
Brooke Thompson, a 23-year-old graduate of Deep Run High School and Randolph Macon College, is stuck on St. Maarten.
Thompson is in her first her of med school at American University of the Caribbean.
She said she wasn't able to evacuate the island because she was not allowed to bring her puppy with her to safety.When the storm hit, she and about 500 students took shelter at the school.
They are all safe, but Thompson's parents said there have been issues getting the students off the island.
Thompson told her parents that officials said pets couldn’t go on the military planes, so Thompson and her puppy Arthur, as well as dozens of other students with their pets, have not been able to evacuate.
Her parents—Julie and David McGuaghey-- have been desperately trying to get their daughter home since the storm hit. Julie said Thompson has been living in school's auditorium with food, but she’s concerned the water will run out and so will the dog food.
"I just want her here, I just want my baby home,” said her mother.
Thompson 's parents have been reaching out to Virginia politicians and anyone who can help their daughter. They said Thompson was promised that a boat would come for them yesterday, but a boat never showed up.
A University of the Caribbean spokesperson, who said he could not comment on an individual student, provided the following statement:
Adtalem Global Education and its American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) continue the evacuation of its campus on Saint Maarten after the unprecedented impact of Hurricane Irma, and the looming effects of Hurricane Jose.
According to the National Hurricane Center, this is the first time in recorded history that two Category 4 storms have made landfall in the U.S. in the same year. When Hurricane Irma hit, there were more than 500 students, faculty and staff on the island.
Many members of the community sought shelter on our campus as well. All those who sought shelter on the campus made it through the storm safely. As of 11:00 p.m. Sunday, over half our group has been evacuated by the U.S. military, and about 200 remain on our campus with food and water.
The U.S. military evacuation operation on Sint Maarten is being coordinated by a task force organized by the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of State. Our evacuation began on Saturday morning with approximately fifty people, including 30 small children, and the U.S. military evacuation is expected to continue. Our team continues to work on additional evacuation options that can be executed as soon as conditions allow.
The situation on-island is complex and changing quickly. AUC has both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals on its campus – we are working diligently to continue support all. Some of those from our campus who have been evacuated are now in Chicago and have been given accommodation in area hotels and support.
We would like to thank the U.S. military, the joint task force and other federal and state entities – including the Illinois Emergency Management Agency- who are all involved in this important effort. We would also like to thank the students, family, faculty and staff who took shelter on our campus for their patience and bravery, and their compassion. In the face of their own crisis, we watched our students care for residents in need of assistance, and support each other. These students are future physicians, and we could not be more proud to have them as part of the AUC family.