Oct. 19, 2017 – The City of Dunlap is organizing a collection Friday, Oct. 27, for the Raber family, who lost their home to fire two weeks before, on Oct. 13. Donations of non-perishable food, hygiene items, clothing, toys, and other items may be dropped off at the City Training Center (next to City Hall) from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Robert Raber, who is a detective with the Dunlap Police Department, was deployed to the Caribbean with the Tennessee National Guard at the time of the fire. His family was gone to a football game when the fire broke out and returned home just in time to rescue their dog from the burning house.
Raber was on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, to assist in recovery after the island was hit by a hurricane in September. Local officials contacted the Red Cross after the fire and secured permission for Raber to fly home early to help his family begin their own recovery process.
The house was a total loss, and only a few personal possessions have been recovered.
Clothing is needed in the following sizes:
Oct. 12, 2017 – In early September,
Hurricane Irma plowed through the Virgin Islands as a Category 5 storm. Then, Sept. 20, St. Croix – the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands – was creased by the outer eye wall of Hurricane Maria, also a Cat. 5.
Devastation was horrific.
Before the end of the month, the United States began calling up National Guardsmen to deploy to the U.S. Virgin Islands to assist with recovery efforts, and Detective Robert Raber of the Dunlap Police Department was one of them.
As part of a military police unit of the Tennessee National Guard, Raber and his fellow guardsmen with experience in law enforcement were sent to St. Croix to restore stability, and to fill in for local police so they could check on their own homes and families.
Looters coming in from the sea – modern-day “Pirates of the Caribbean, if you will – have been a problem. In addition, officers are answering calls, manning curfew checkpoints, and handling traffic control while utility crews are working to get power lines back up and services restored.
According to Dunlap Police Chief Clint Huth, guardsmen are paired up with local officers, to help with patrolling the island.
Guardsmen are expected to be on the island for a month before returning home.
The U.S. Virgin Islands are a non-self-governing territory of the United States. They consist of the main islands of St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, and many other surrounding minor islands. The U.S. bought the islands from Denmark in 1916. Citizens of the Virgin Islands are citizens of the United States, but lack the right to vote for president.
Photos by Robert Raber.