James City County Administrator Bryan Hill is thankful that he is spending this Thanksgiving with his mom, her first in Williamsburg.
“I’m thankful for life. Every morning I wake up and say thank you for my family. Most importantly, I’m thankful for my mom,” Hill said.
Sonia Hill is from Dominica in the West Indies, but is now in Williamsburg with her son after Hurricane Maria tore across the island and ripped the roof off her house.
The storm was a Category 5 event when it made landfall on Sept. 16, and bad weather continued into the first few days of October. There were 129 deaths and $51 billion in damage.
Hill’s mom lost everything in the hurricane; he said he couldn’t communicate with her for nearly two weeks.
When Hill finally heard from his mother, he said it became clear that one of them would need to relocate.
Hill took three flights and one boat to Dominica on Sept. 26 and was gone for six days. Hill said he took a boat from St. Lucia into Dominica because the island was not allowing planes in, only helicopters.
He left with his 81-year-old mother, his 88-year-old uncle and his 86-year-old aunt, and made the trek back to James City County.
“She’s lost all of her worldly possessions, but she still has her son.” Hill said.
Hill’s aunt and uncle have since moved on to New York and are staying with family there. His mom is settling in nicely, but Hill said she doesn’t like the cold weather.
“When it goes below 75 degrees in James City County, my mom is (staying) home,” Hill said.
Hill said he plans to spend dinner with family at home and will have greens, courtesy of Supervisor Michael Hipple’s garden.
Sonia Hill won’t be the only one who has made a journey to be at the Hill table this Thanksgiving. Bryan Hill said family from all parts of the world will travel to James City County.
“I have family coming in from England and I have my adopted daughter coming in from Mississippi,” Hill said. “A lot of family will be around, and I haven’t had Thanksgiving with my mom in 20 years.”
Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.