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Mount St. Mary's University Community Responds to Call to aid Turks and Caicos Islands

Communications Staff

Although Luis Turbyfield, C'19’s, fall semester is filled with demanding classes and intense rugby practice and games, he felt a strong need to help his home community of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands after category 5 Hurricane Irma destroyed houses and businesses on the island chain.

luis-turbyfield-c19.jpgTurbyfield turned to the university’s administration and his rugby team to transform his desire to provide assistance into reality.

Mount St. Mary’s University men’s head rugby coach Jay Myles asked families signed up to attend FamilyFest on September 16 to donate to a collection drive. The impressive result: more than 650 pounds of clothing, diapers, work gloves, dust masks, and toiletries collected by the men’s rugby team, who then sorted, inventoried, and prepared the donations for shipment.

Luis, his brother Sebastian, and his parents Carmen Fabara and Harry Turbyfield personally delivered the donations to Turks and Caicos Islands during the Mount’s fall break the week of October 9.

turks-and-caicos-hurricane-devistation.jpgCaptain Derick Miller of Salvation Army Turks & Caicos Islands, along with Todd Foss, a Salvation Army board member, and Turbyfield distributed individual bags with correctly sized clothing and other needed goods to people in the hardest hit areas where homes were destroyed and cars were completely buried in mud and debris.

The islands continue to rebuild after being hit by a second hurricane, Maria, on September 22. Turbyfield expects to travel with more needed items in December.

“I’m thankful to everyone for their help. The Mount family who came and donated were great, and the guys on the team were awesome,” said Turbyfield, an All-American in rugby and graduate of Archbishop Curly High School in Baltimore. “I didn’t see myself organizing something like this, but I felt a strong need to help the people of Turks and Caicos. It felt really good to provide for people in great need, and I plan to do more.”

foss-miller-and-turbyfield.jpg“Luis saw a need, understood what he could do to help and organized a solution,” said Maureen C. Plant, C’82, Mount St. Mary’s director of parent and family engagement. “I am very proud of the work Luis and his teammates did to make this happen.”

Plant, Vice President for University Advancement Bob Brennan, C’85, and Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement Caitlin Eby advised Turbyfield and his teammates on the collection, organization and distribution of the donations.

Turbyfield’s service ethic is in keeping with Mount St. Mary’s tradition of serving those in distress and of making a positive impact on the world. As part of a day of community service on October 10, 34 of the university’s support staff created 75 personal hygiene kits for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico as well as 75 military snack care kits and 100 letters of support to troops and six handmade blankets donated to the Frederick Rescue Mission.

Mount St. Mary’s also responded to a call for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The university provided classroom space at the Frederick campus for FEMA to hold emergency management training classes for representatives from state, local, tribal and territorial governments across the country.

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