Roxanna Harnarain, a recent transplant from Broward County now resides in Felda. She was watching the news reports on all of the devistation that befell Texas after Hurricane Harvey, when memories of Hurricane Wilma came flooding to her mind. She was living in Broward County when Wilma came in 2005.
“It wasn’t as bad as Harvey but I remember seeing all the flooding and trees everywhere and I wanted to help. I was a teenager then and I didn’t know how to do that. But as an adult now I decided that I should do something,” Roxanna told me.
“I started going on Facebook and saw all the people that needed help.” She added.
As we stood in her front yard in Felda I could sense the strong desire in Harnarain to serve, to help.
She is a stay at home Mom now of three adorable children; her husband Ravi, who also has a heart for service, works at the hospital in Lehigh Acres.
“I started panicking because these people have kids, they have families, and they are drowning; they need help,” Roxanne said.
After learning that 911 services were down in Texas she took action. She downloaded the app Zello (which turns your cell phone into a walky-talky), joined several online hurricane relief groups, and started dispatching rescue teams located in Texas from her home in Felda.
“Whenever I would see a post that no one had responded to I would write their address down, go on Zello and say ‘I need a rescue at this address.’ I would tell them how many people, children, pets etc. were at the address and then reach the people who are on boats and dispatch them to the address to help the people in need,” Harnarian said.
She has since received messages from people she has helped to rescue thanking her for her help and expressing their heartfelt gratitude.
“It’s pretty emotional for me because I have a family too and if I needed help I would want someone to help me.”
After seeing her efforts her husband was so moved that he called the news station in Fort Myers and they came out and covered her in action.
“He called without me knowing but I was glad because it brought more awareness to the ways people could help.”
She has since been interviewed on the radio as well.
What an inspiration Roxanna is to all of us who feel the call to help but may not know exactly how we can serve.