A Casper College student is raising funds to help rebuild damage caused by Hurricane Ida in her hometown of Grand Isle, Louisiana.

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"Where I'm from in Louisiana, we call them, like, County Parishes," said Briana Kent, an occupational therapy student attending the University of North Dakota on the Casper College campus. "I'm from the Ascension Parish and it was one of the places that was the eye of Hurricane Ida went through, and that's the worst part of the storm. My family also has a camp that was hit very badly."

Kent stated that the storm swept through coastal Louisiana, all the way up to MIssisppi and left mass destruction in its wake.

"Wind is what did the most damage," she said. "It basically just tore apart a lot of people's properties, a lot of people's houses. And it did cause some flooding in some areas. The people living there are dealing with loss of power and some places still don't have any water. It's been really hard on everybody because they have 90 degree weather and it's humid, too."

Being so far away from home when the storm hit left Kent feeling impotent in terms of helping her loved ones. So she did the only thing she could think of- she started a Facebook fundraiser to provide disaster relief to the places hit hardest by Hurricane Ida. The goal of the fundraiser is set to $5,000 and it's currently sitting at $1,100, with 16 donations. On the fundraiser page, Kent had this to say:

"Hello everyone, and Happy Friday!

"My name is Bri. I am from a small town in southern Louisiana, but am currently living in Casper, WY to attend school at Casper College. As I’m sure many of you have heard, southern Louisiana was recently hit with one of the most devastating storms since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. This time, instead of flooding the streets of New Orleans, Hurricane Ida swept through the heart and soul of the bayou, through some of my favorite places, and even left many of the people I know, personally, stuck without power and water for predicted weeks to come.

"Many of these areas have been deemed uninhabitable, leaving members of these communities with nowhere to live for who knows how long. The eye of Hurricane Ida hit my hometown and destroyed the place where I grew up with 150-170mph winds and 4-8ft floods. Luckily, minimal damage was done to my parents and grandparents’ homes, and I am beyond grateful to say that all my family and friends have persevered through the storm and come out even stronger than before. But I know that others weren’t so lucky, and that is why I am making this post.

"Being over 1,000 miles away, I feel that it is my duty to inform my new community of the devastation this storm has caused to my home. I have decided to create a fundraiser to help with the disaster relief and unbelievable infrastructure damage of my favorite place in the whole state, a place where I have spent at least half of my life growing up: Grand Isle, LA. You may have never heard of it, but this quaint little island right off the coast of Louisiana is a place that my family has been visiting every summer since before I was born.

"The locals have accepted us as part of the community over the years and we have many friends on the island. Unfortunately, this small island and its surrounding towns received some of the absolute worst damage in the state due to being in the direct line of the eyewall of Hurricane Ida. If I was able to be home, this is the first place I would want to be to help with repairs. But being so far away, I can only hope to raise money that will go towards rebuilding the island that I love so dearly.

"Of course it is not obligated, but if you are willing, any and all donations will be graciously appreciated, from both myself and the Grand Isle community. Even if you can't donate, a share is greatly appreciated to inform others of the toll this storm has taken on many undeserving Louisiana residents.

"Lastly, I want to thank you all for reading this post and hearing my story. I think I can speak for Louisiana when I say we are more than grateful for the support this country has already provided, and continues to provide, during such a difficult time. Thank you again, and I hope you all have a blessed day!"

Kent said that after the hurricane hit, she went into class and teachers and fellow students alike were asking her about the damage.

"My teacher just asked me if I needed anything," Kent said. "She said 'If you do any kind of fundraising just let us know and we'll announce it to the class,' and that's what gave me the idea. I just wanted to try and see if I could raise money for the people of Grand Isle, the local residents and any of the communities surrounding it, since that's where the worst of the storm occurred."

The fundraiser has already surpassed $1,000 which is a great start, but Casper has proven time and time again that when it comes to helping those in need, this city rises to the occasion.

"I just want to say thank you," Kent stated. "We are all really grateful for the support that the whole country has sent. A lady on the Casper Classifieds page said that her husband has gone down to Louisiana as one of the linemen helping to restore power, and a lot of other people have gone down as well. Were just super grateful for the amount of support that has been given to us to help rebuild our state."

Kent said this isn't a personal fundraiser, it's a disaster relief fund for the entire community. Those who wish to donate may do so by clicking this link. 

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