ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Before his plane ride back to the First Coast, pilot Stephen Sipprell took a selfie with the Garry family --the family of six coming from the Bahamas as part of their new journey after Hurricane Dorian.
"They had a house, it's gone," Sipprell explained. "Their parishioners are gone. Their church is gone."
Sipprell connected with the family through a church friend and made the 2.5-hour plane ride Wednesday morning, picking up the pastor and his family at the airport in Nassau and landing in St. Augustine 13 hours later.
"The biggest problem is how do you get somebody into the states if they don't have a Visa and they don't have a passport?" Sipprell said. "Luckily, customs was cooperative."
U.S. Customs agents interviewed the family for several hours and allowed them in the U.S. to be flown to the First Coast by Sipprell.
John Garry, along with his wife and four children, arrived with only the clothes they were wearing.
"I thank God," Garry said. "He gave me life." He described the moment he cried out to members of his church trying to rescue them from the hurricane.
"When I reached inside the church, the roof fell down," Garry said. "I sat in the water for three days."
Sipprell, who gave his heart to help the family, is also giving them a home.
"We are going to try to put them up for a while and kind of stabilize them and see where it goes from there," he said.