SACRAMENTO -- Hurricane Dorian slowed to a crawl over the Bahamas, ravaging the grouping of islands like no storm has before. The Category 5 hurricane hit and then continued to batter the region, leaving the Grand Bahamas and Abaco Islands in shambles.
Sacramento Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield was born in Freeport in the West Grand Bahama district, and grew up in the area before heading to the United States to pursue basketball.
Hield was in the Bahamas visiting family and friends just a few weeks back, including his mother, Jackie Swann, who still lives there.
After phone lines were re-established, Hield was finally able to speak to his mother. She survived the storm and remains at her home in the Bahamas, but the world around her is mostly destroyed.
The death toll has already reached 30 and is expected to rise as the damage is assessed. It will take years for the Bahamian people to recover what they have lost and there are no guarantees that the area will ever be the same.
An emotional Hield spoke to the media Thursday afternoon at Golden 1 Center. His homeland is underwater and under duress. He needs help to help the ones he loves.
“If you see a picture of Grand Bahama previously and Grand Bahama now, you can see the flooding is all over and Abaco Island is completely gone. People are still trying to find their loved ones. It’s tough man, it’s tough to talk about.”
“Seeing the footage from what Hurricane Dorian has done to the islands, it’s left me heartbroken,” Hield said. “There’s nothing I can do personally about it. The only I can do is go out and control what I can control.”
The emotional toll is crushing, and financially, the area is devastated. Feeling helpless here in the states, Hield has turned to raising awareness about the tragedy and hopefully a lot of money to send back.
Hield is donating $100,000 of his own money to the Buddy Hield Foundation which will go to aid the situation and the 26-year-old has set up a GoFundMe account with the hopes of raising a million dollars to help the people of the Bahamas.
The Kings have jumped into action supporting their starting shooting guard, as they do with plenty of other issues both regionally and abroad.
According to the team’s official press release, “The Sacramento Kings Foundation, Buddy Hield Foundation, Ranadivé Foundation, and Jacobs Family, including Debby and Hal Jacobs, Genevieve and Paul Jacobs, and Annie and Jeff Jacobs are collectively donating $105,000 to UNICEF USA to aid those impacted by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.”
According to TMZ, Kings head coach Luke Walton kicked in $10,000 to go towards the fund, which is approaching $60,000 as of Thursday evening.
[RELATED: Kings' Buddy Hield gives back to native Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian]
All totaled, Hield is already over a quarter of a million dollars in cash donations.
For more information, go to Hield’s GoFundMe page. In addition to cash donations, Hield is hoping to collect basic necessities, generators and sleeping bags that will eventually find their way to the Bahamas.