Daytona locals express heartbreak over Hurricane Dorian's destruction of favorite Abacos vacation spots.
DAYTONA BEACH — For a number of Volusia-Flagler area business people, the Bahamas' Abaco Islands are a favorite getaway spot.
Several own properties there including vacation homes and in the case of at least one, a business.
"Dad is one of several partners who have owned Grabber's Bed, Bar & Grille in Great Guana Cay for about 15 years now," said Skip Lilly, referring to his father, Dennis Lilly, the owner and president of Vision H.R. in Daytona Beach.
Skip Lilly, sales and marketing manager for Vision H.R., said he and his family have been anxiously scouring the news as well as social media for word on the fate of friends they know in the Abacos in the wake of Hurricane Dorian which made landfall there as a Category 5 hurricane earlier this week.
"Every island in that area got hammered," he said on Friday. "The eye of the hurricane also engulfed the Great Guana Cay. All of those islands are in great desperation. We don't have full reports yet."
Lilly, once a year, performs music at Grabber's under the stage name Steel Daddy. He said he typically sees several Daytona area business people whenever he's there.
Other locals who own properties in the Abacos include Stonewood Holdings Chairman L. Gale Lemerand, who owns a townhome in the posh Baker's Bay golf resort on the north end of the Great Guana Cay, as well as John's Appliance owner John Hinton, Fred Hudson of Hudson's Furniture, and local attorney Ted Doran.
"Everything's a mess there," Lemerand said. "Everything's devastated. Baker's Bay will be rebuilt, but it will take several months. I don't think (nearby) Marsh Harbour will ever be the same in my lifetime."
"It's sad for everyone, but especially the people who live and work there."
Doran said it was heartbreaking to see photos of Harbour View Marina in Marsh Harbour completely destroyed. He regularly docks his boat there when visiting the islands.
"It is just hard to see those places where you have so many memories and have gone for years and to look at the photos (and see) it's just not there. ... It's just surreal," he said.
Lemerand urged locals to donate to a relief fund set up to aid recovery efforts in the Abaco Islands: discoverylandcofoundation.org/donate.
News-Journal staff writer Frank Fernandez contributed to this report.