Austinite who lived through one St. Vincent eruption helping those living through another


AUSTIN (KXAN) — After multiple eruptions from the La Soufrière volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, an Austin man knows what they’re going through and is doing his best to help.

Billy Dennie grew up on the Caribbean island but has lived in Austin for about 20 years. He is raising awareness about the dire situation and funds that will go toward helping those in need.

“This has impacted me personally,” Dennie said.

Dennie was living on the island when the volcano previously erupted.

“It brings back memories of when I was 6 years old of the hopelessness and uncertainty,” he said.

Residents were evacuated 24 hours before the first eruption back in early April, but now shelters are becoming crowded with about 20,000 people left without a place to live.

Water, food and basic necessities are also becoming a major concern and are desperately needed.

Dennie still has friends and family on the island. So he’s asking his church community to help him raise money and awareness.

“We should do something to try to get them help,” Dennie said.

Dennie set up a GoFundMe to raise money for those in need. The money will go to a church on St. Vincent and will help buy food, water and other much needed resources for the most vulnerable people.

“When you are in a hopeless situation you need people to come along side of you and help,” said Sherwynn Patton, a friend of Dennie.

Patton says Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church and others are raising money to help relief efforts.

“We have to take care of home because we know there is a pandemic, but we also have to take care of our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world that don’t have access to the things we have,” Patton said.

Dennie says it will take years to rebuild and many more could lose their homes, but a few people working together can make a big difference.

“God placed on my heart that I needed to do something,” Dennie said.

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