Irma: Nun armed with chainsaw helps Florida residents clear up Hurricane debris

'We had chainsaws in a cupboard and they did not belong there - they needed to be used'

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Wednesday 13 September 2017 14:32 BST
Nun with a chainsaw seen helping clean up after Hurricane Irma

Hopefully, she won’t have to make a habit of this.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma tearing through Florida, bringing down trees and power lines and forcing countless thousands from their homes, many have done what they can to help in the clear up. No more so than Sister Margaret Ann, a nun who picked up a chain saw to help clear debris outside her school.

The nun, who has been teaching at Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School in the western suburbs of Miami for 30 years, was spotted clearing downed trees by an off-duty officer from the Miami-Dade Police Department. He filmed her and subsequently posted the footage to the department’s social media feeds.

“We are #OneCommunity in @MiamiDadeCounty! Thank you Sister Margaret Ann of @ACCHS_Bulldogs for pitching in as we recover from #Irma,” said one tweet by the police.

The sister suggested she did not think twice before deciding to pitch in. And she wanted to set a good example.

Footage reportedly shows Disney World during Hurricane Irma

“There was a need, I had the means, so I wanted to help out,” she told CNN.

“We teach our students: Do what you can to help other people, don’t think of yourselves.”

She said the officer had told her the police would eventually get around to clearing the debris. “I said ‘but it's going to take them too long…it’s dangerous, people are going to get hurt here’,” she said. “We had chainsaws in a cupboard and they did not belong there - they needed to be used.”

She said that as she worked, others came to help. “It became really good community project.”

The sister said she did not know when her school will reopen. Many schools and colleges across the state, have said their doors will remain closed for many days, if not weeks. At her Catholic school, many trees have been down and a wall was blown in by the winds of Irma,

“The community will come out and help us. That’s what we do,” she said. “It’s good.”

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