Irma delays Midland couple from helping Haiti - WNEM TV 5

Irma delays Midland couple from helping Haiti

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

While people in the United States rush to prepare for Hurricane Irma, others in the Caribbean are feeling the full impact.

People in the developing nation of Haiti still haven't recovered from Hurricane Matthew last year. Now Irma is on their doorstep.

One Mid-Michigan couple spent much of their lives helping people in Haiti. They said their heart breaks at the news of the hurricane.

"Haiti means a lot to me. I've spent about half of my life in Haiti now," said Mallery Neptune.

Neptune spends about nine months a year in Haiti, which is now in the path of Hurricane Irma - a category 5 hurricane packing sustained winds of 175 miles per hour.

"Our heart breaks for the constant crisis that the country is in," Neptune said.

Neptune and her husband Pierre own the Gift of Hope Boutique in Midland. The store is part of an initiative to provide work for impoverished mothers in Haiti. Everything sold in the store is made by those women.

Pierre Frantz-Neptune was born and raised in Haiti. He has seen more than his fair share of hurricanes.

"It's terrifying, especially the noise. This awful noise it's making. It's hard, even if you have shelter. It's hard to even sleep or rest in peace," Frantz-Neptune said.

The couple was scheduled to fly to Haiti on Thursday, but Irma changed those plans. Now they can only sit and wait to see what Irma leaves behind.

"It's really hard, hard to be up here," Frantz-Neptune said.

Irma's visit comes at a tough time for the Neptunes. That's because Haiti is still trying to recover from a storm that hit the area 11 months ago.

"We adopted a community after Matthew and my husband plans to go back and kind of just do a little report on how everything is going. And now here we are bracing for another hurricane in a different part of the country," Neptune said.

The Neptunes said it appears the orphanage they run will be spared a direct hit from the storm, but Haiti isn't out of the woods yet. Hurricane Jose is also lurking in the Atlantic. The latest models call for that storm to avoid Haiti, something Neptune is hoping for.

"It's kind of a necessary hobby living in Haiti during hurricane season to keep tracking those storms and praying them away," Neptune said.

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