Philadelphia CEO heads to Bahamas to help with recovery efforts

Friday, September 13, 2019
Philadelphia CEO heads to Bahamas to help with recovery efforts
Philadelphia CEO heads to Bahamas to help with recovery efforts. George Solis has more on Action News at 10 p.m. on September 12, 2019.

FREEPORT, Bahamas (WPVI) -- The images, frankly, say more than words ever could.

"You get a very surreal feeling of wow," said American Heritage Credit Union President and CEO Bruce Foulke.

On Thursday, that was Foulke's impression as he landed in Freeport in Grand Bahama on the first commercial flight out of Nassau since Hurricane Dorian.

SEE ALSO: Another tropical system is expected to hit the Bahamas islands slammed by Hurricane Dorian

"You can say wow on TV but until you see it, until you see where the watermark is 8-feet high in somebody's office, you can say wow," he said.

Foulke spoke with Action News from Freeport after spending the day on the ground assessing the damage at nine credit unions in Freeport.

He said after receiving the invitation from the World Council of Credit Unions, he bought his ticket and headed down.

"Financially, these people are strapped down here," he said.

He did say some are operating as best as they could--some in the dark or in storm-damaged buildings.

Foulke took photos of some of the debris he encountered, including what had a been a recently constructed credit union, now just a pile of rubble.

SEE ALSO: Ocean City couple leading effort to help son, neighbors stranded in Hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

They are going there to re-unite with their son as reported by Dann Cueller during Action News at 11 on September 3, 2019

"You know what the number one thing they asked for? The number one thing, it wasn't money, it was 'generators so we can serve our members.' It wasn't about the money, 'we need generators, we want to serve our members,'" Foulke said.

His hope is that by assessing all the damage he can now get back to the states and begin fundraising for things like generators, new computer systems, and other funding to help Bahamians get back on their feet.

"We'll get it. I have no doubt in my mind our credit union people will open their hearts," said Foulke.