Meet the school principal who brought his community together after Hurricane Irma

Florida Keys resident Harry Russell turned his school into a daycare and a distribution center for donated supplies in the aftermath of the storm.
4:34 | 11/13/17

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Transcript for Meet the school principal who brought his community together after Hurricane Irma
It's been 64 days since hurricane Irma made a direct hit here in the Florida keys. This is sugar love school a shelter during the height of the storm. Now it's a distribution center for supplies donated and fanned out across the keys. A lot of these kids are helping out before they head to school. Some of these supplies have been donated by you our generous viewers and on behalf of the keys and residents here I thank you. As you're about to see there's still a lot more that needs to be done. September 10th, just before 9:00 A.M., hurricane Irma tears through the Florida keys. 130-mile-per-hour winds, demolishing nearly everything in it's path. We were driving down and just I was just crying a lot of the way because everything you saw was everybody's fwlongings. Reporter: Day care owner Rhonda was heartbroken to learn her day-care center fell victim) To hurricane Irma. I didn't think we would re-open at all. I kind of had given up and was ready to walk away. But I got a call from the principal at sugarloaf asking if it we wanted to come here while we had our place fixed and that saved us. Day care plays an integral part of allowing parents to get back to work. Have fun. At the school level we need our teachers back so getting that day care set up was important. It was a godsend. There was no other way to describe them moving the day care here. By helping this one facility, you're not helping one family, you're helping 30 families. Rhonda's day care has recently re-opened but Irma destroyed one-quarter of all hopes in the Florida keys leaving thousands homeless. We don't have a roof on our house. We don't have anywhere to live staying with friends. Reporter: Teresa bass is a special Ed teacher at sugar of loaf school. We're two months past Irma and not a whole lot of progress. No progress whatsoever actually. While not destroyed her home is badly damaged. Filled with mold and still unlivable. When we walked in there was water everywhere. What was going through your mind and could you even believe your eyes. No, because it's -- this is our home and it's hard to see somewhere where this was where we raised our daughter. Reporter: Teresa's FEMA claims were denied because of two little damage. All she can do right now is take things day by day. My daughter wants to go home. She asks at leave every other day when are we going home. It's got to break your heart. It does. That's the hardest part. That's not fair and I'm not the only one going through it. So many of us. So many people in this community. You know, kids are resilient but the stress on the parents is just incredible. I'm here at the school with the school's principal principal Harry Russell. Two months it's been, principal Russell. A lot of your teachers are ho homeless themselves. How is the staff and the students holding up. Overall they're doing well. The students have been very resilient to the recovery efforts and I can't say enough about our staff, our teachers themselves like you mentioned have suffered total home loss to significant damage and here eachary every day providing a top notch education we would expect and take our hats off to their efforts. They have to come in with a strong fa They do each and every day? Besides that what are you most proud of in this recovery? I am proud of the keys community as a whole. We have come together and we are helping each other out and sugarloaf school is one small part of that puzzle and it's been amazing seeing everybody work on behalf of one another. I can attest to that firsthand the last couple of days seen this community come together for sure. They are strong. Listen, we've got a little surprise. Our friends from winn-dixie have something they want to give you. Oh, my gosh. How are you? On behalf of winn-dixie in recognition of the tremendous efforts that your school, faculty, staff, students have made in assisting with the recovery effort I'd like to present you with a check for $25,200. Wow. That amount should represent a Thanksgiving dinner for every student that goes to school at sugarloaf school. Appreciate all the work you've done and thank you for helping us all stay strong. Thank you very much. We appreciate it. Thank. You that is awesome. Thank you very much. That's got to relieve just a little stress in these hard times. A proper meal for Thanksgiving next week. Yes, that was our next big focus a Thanksgiving meal for all our families so this is fantastic. Thank you. What do you think about that? You got to believe it. Had is the home of the sharks

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