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Missouri native living in US Virgin Islands experiences second strong hurricane

Millie Lovett moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands after living in Columbia for 17 years. (Facebook/ Millie Lovett) 

Millie Lovett said living in a place like the U.S. Virgin Islands had always been on her bucket list, but experiencing two Category 5 hurricanes was not.

Lovett, who lived in Columbia for several years, lives on Water Island, a 491 acre island. Two of the islands could fit on Mizzou's main campus.

Lovett said she stayed on the island during Hurricane Irma, and said she's bracing herself on the island for Hurricane Maria.

She noted most of the people who evacuated were the disabled or anyone requiring some sort of medical need.

"Those of us who are able bodied we stayed, we had to stay, I would rather give my seat up to someone that really needed to physically go than try to go myself."

Lovett is originally from Southeast Missouri. She said she moved to Columbia in 1998. Lovett said she worked as the Director of Operations for The Blue Note in Columbia. When the Blue Note changed hands two years ago, she said she moved to Water Island with one suitcase.

Resources on the island are limited. Lovett considers going to the grocery store an ordeal. She said she has to get on a boat to nearby island, St. Thomas, where she picks up her groceries and other necessities.

With Hurricane Irma's impact, she said resources have been even more scarce. Following Irma, she said Saint Croix was instrumental for people needing to go back to the United States, and Puerto Rico has helped with fuel and supplies.

"The Puetro Ricans, especially the Puerto Rican navy, they ran many times a day with supplies and shipments of things we needed here like water, diapers, baby food, generators, gas," said Lovett. "Now that we have Maria, and Maria is headed for St. Croix and Puerto Rico, we're all at a loss now."

Lovett has set up a GoFundMe Account to help with Water Island relief efforts. She had raised just over $16,000 of her $15,000 goal as of Wednesday evening.

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