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Pasadena family feeling sense of relief after being removed from dangers of St. Maarten

An idea of the damage left behind in St. Maarten by Hurricane Irma this week can be seen in a photo taken by Allison Parrill.
An idea of the damage left behind in St. Maarten by Hurricane Irma this week can be seen in a photo taken by Allison Parrill.

You can’t appreciate living in a safe and secure environment until you’ve found yourself in a helpless situation where danger lurks at every corner.

Pasadena native Allison Parrill, along with her parents Gord and Pauline, are happy to be back on safe soil after catching a flight to Chicago from St. Maarten early Tuesday morning.

“I feel safe now. There’s relief all over. You can feel the relief in your body,” Allison Parrill said from Chicago Tuesday afternoon. “You don’t realize how tense and shocked you were when you were actually there.”

Allison was eager to make St. Maarten her temporary home while she was entering her first year of medical school at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, but that dream became a nightmare when hurricane winds pummelled almost everything in its path during a violent storm that has left thousands of people without the necessities of life.

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Her parents travelled to the island to help Allison get settled in school and only planned on staying a few days, but they also got stranded and went through some anxious moments waiting for some direction as to how they could be brought out of harm’s way.

Being safe and sound again is an awesome feeling for the young woman, but her bedside manner shone through when she realized the devastation she left behind.

“I’m just thinking about all the people who are still there and stranded with nothing. It’s just devastating,” she said. “I was happy to leave, but it was hard to leave because we were helping people.”

Her dad and mom are feeling relieved that the ordeal is behind them. They will spend a few more days with their daughter before catching a flight to Halifax to continue their original plan — a vacation in Hawaii before the couple are scheduled to move to Iqaluit for one year with Pauline taking a nursing job in the north before they officially start their retirement years.

“It’s a great relief. There was a lot of stress down there,” Gord said from Chicago as the family was being taken to another hotel.

He’s just happy to be out of danger and hopes his daughter is able to get her career started now.

Allison Parrill, right, and her parents Gord and Pauline of Pasadena, are shown here waiting at the airport Sunday. They were turned away by local authorities and unable to board the Sunwing flight on the day this picture was taken. They were also refused evacuation by the American military as they were only evacuating Americans and Americans with pets. They finally felt a sense of safety again when they managed to get a flight out of harm’s way to Chicago early Tuesday morning.

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