As you all know, Mike and Eron's home and farm took a serious hit from Hurricane Irma. This was Eron's Facebook post yesterday:
"Mike & I are safe. Dogs are safe too. House & farm took a big hit. I've always wanted a few skylights in the house anyway. The indoor waterfall is a great touch. Ha! Today we start cleaning and rebuilding. I can't thank our island family enough for the help. We couldn't have done it without you. Thank you for all of the love and prayers near & far. CJ -BIGG hugs."
I know it had to have broken your heart like it broke mine and I think we know Mike and Eron less than most of you.
How do we know Mike and Eron? Mike's parents live on Puerto Rico where we live. We have a farm where we grow tropical fruits and bamboo, and we raise goats, ducks and chickens. We met Mike and Eron when they came to visit our farm over Thanksgiving 2016. They were wanting to meet other farmers.
We loved them instantly. What's not to love about them?
We emailed them and told them we desperately needed to take a vacation and that we hadn't been on one together in 8 years. They invited us to stay with them for a few days, which we did in April 2017. We had such a good time. They introduced us to a few of their friends, including Catherine and Joel.
They are genuinely kind people who'd give you the shirts off their backs and want nothing in return. If we know that and haven't known them for as long as many of you, I reckon I won't get anyone arguing with that statement.
While we were there we heard about how they got their farm started. It was extremely well designed and for each meal, Mike made us amazing meals--of course from their farm. Eron and I picked herbs from the garden for tea each morning and from both the tea and the meals, we could taste the love they put into their farm.
Mike took this photo on their balcony. It's still one of our favorites of us.
We are certain that many lost their homes and farms on the USVI, St. Maarten, St. Bart's and Barbuda but we don't know them. Knowing that they'd do this and more for their friends, we couldn't not do something for them.
I am not sure if anyone else has started a crowdfunding page for them and if so, I'll shut this one down and gladly donate to that one.
Once money starts coming in, I'll contact them and ask them to give me their account information and transfer every penny raised.
If you have any doubts about who my husband and I are, please don't hesitate to ask Mike and Eron about us. We care for them deeply, as we know you do, and we just want to help two people who'd help us all if the tables were reversed.
Paul and Sarah Ratliff
Utuado, Puerto Rico
P.S. if you're in the group photo and you'd prefer we didn't use it, please let me know. We couldn't find one of the two of them together that didn't have other people in it. We assumed it was because Mike is shy! :) To make a short story long... :)