Jacksonville mariners raise $100K for Bahamian widow who lost her family and home in Dorian

Group raises money for widow
10/1/19 UPDATE: 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As of Oct. 1, the mariners have raised $100,000 for the widow who lost her husband and three children in the Bahamas during Hurricane Dorian.


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As the Bahamas braces for another potential hit, a local effort has raised more than $50,000 for a widow who lost her husband and three children in Hurricane Dorian.

Philip Thomas was a beloved, expert pilot who would bring in ships out of Jacksonville into the Bahamas.

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Thomas' shipmates he went to maritime college with organized the GoFundMe fundraiser.

Matthew Arnold, a port engineer for Crowley, is still reeling from the El Faro tragedy.

"Rich [Pusatere] helped train me at school," Arnold said.  "His father is actually one of the contributors to this GoFundMe."

Still living that pain, he now helps run this fundraiser with other classmates of the Bahamas pilot.

Only Philip Thomas' wife, Barri, survived Dorian.

"Philip's last action in life was getting her to some high ground to hold onto something, then went after the kids and was lost at sea," Arnold said.

The Thomas family lived in McLeans Town Cay.  The First Alert Weather Team said the area saw 240 mph gusts and storm surge up to 22 feet.

"We have a saying that goes, ‘One hand for the ship, one hand for your shipmate.'  And this is one of those times that we say ‘one hand' and come together," Arnold said.

It's "one hand" for their shipmate, Philip, but they're wrapping their arms around his wife to help her get through the unthinkable.

"We're trying to raise money so she can get back on her feet and start over again," Arnold said.

The group is also planning to take a barge full of supplies to the Bahamas on Monday.  Their goal with the GoFundMe is $100,000.

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