Bahamas Hurricane Survivors Spend Christmas In Fort Collins, Far From Home

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Christmas in Colorado may sound romantic, but AJ McIntosh and Chante Basden are refugees of mother nature. They came here from the hurricane ravaged Abaco islands in the Bahamas.

AJ McIntosh and Chante Basden

AJ McIntosh and Chante Basden (credit: CBS)

“I’m grateful to be with a loving family that got us all the way to Colorado. This is a new experience,” Chante said.

Jerry and Amy Colman gather with friends on Christmas.

Jerry and Amy Colman gather with friends on Christmas. (credit: CBS)

McIntosh and Basden are friends of Jerry and Amy Colman of Fort Collins who were there visiting when Hurricane Dorian hit in September. They rode out the vicious storm in a house and when the eye of the storm arrived they moved to a church.

hurricane dorian flooding

(credit: Colman family)

“It sounded like it was like a freight train blew into that building and destroyed it,” Jerry Colman told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

Hurricane Dorian Damage

(credit: CBS)

The hurricane left the islands devastated. The Colman’s returned to Colorado, taking AJ and Shante as their guests along with a promise, according to Jerry.

“We’re talking whatever it takes to get you wherever you need to be and however long it takes,” said Colman.

Hurricane Dorian Damage

(credit: CBS)

This Bahamian couple is hoping to get work visas and remain in Colorado near the Colman’s. So far the process has proven difficult. They are hoping to find a sponsor to provide them with work and the necessary documents.

McIntosh said they owe a lot to the Colmans.

(credit: CBS)

“Being there for us when we needed someone most we are beyond grateful,” said McIntosh.

He is also grateful that this Christmas brought a special gift; a visit from AJ’s mother, Dolly McIntosh.

AJ's mother, Dolly McIntosh, talks with CBS4's Rick Sallinger.

AJ’s mother, Dolly McIntosh, talks with CBS4’s Rick Sallinger. (credit: CBS)

“It’s good being in Colorado. I’ve never been here, my first white Christmas,” Dolly told CBS4.

“It’s something about being able to wrap your arms around your mom and knowing she’s physically there with you,” said McIntosh.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist AJ McIntosh and Chante Basden.