Oakwood University students reach family in Hurricane-affected F - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Oakwood University students reach family in Hurricane-affected Florida

JoPaul Scavella, Angelo Vetiak and Alaysia Bookal describe having families impacted by Hurricane Irma. (Source: WAFF) JoPaul Scavella, Angelo Vetiak and Alaysia Bookal describe having families impacted by Hurricane Irma. (Source: WAFF)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Some Oakwood University students comforted each other as they desperately tried to contact their families in hurricane-stricken areas of Florida. After several anxious hours, all three got word that all of their loved ones are all right.

The students, who are all part of Oakwood's world champion choir, said it has helped to be with someone who knows exactly what they're going through.

JoPaul Scavella, Angelo Vetiak and Alaysia Bookal have more in common than being members of the heralded Oakwood University Aeolians Choir. Each of them has family in areas hit by Hurricane Irma.

Scavella's family members were evacuated by plane before Irma tore through his homeland in the Bahamas, so he knew they were safe. But his sister lives in Orlando, so for a second time, he suffered through the uncertainty of not knowing whether someone he loves was OK. On Monday afternoon, he received a text from his sister.

"It's really bad when you're far away from them, as you can't do something physically to help. But when you hear from them, it's kind of like a huge sigh of relief, you know. They're OK. They're doing well," Scavella said.

Bookal's mother, sister and grandmother were in Fort Lauderdale. Her father, a truck driver, was in Orlando.

"My sister and my mom went back to the home that came down during Hurricane Wilma. So I was really getting anxiety. I was having mental breakdowns after mental breakdowns," she said.

Vetiak was unable to reach anyone in Miami, but finally, like the others, he was able to communicate with his family, and found out his mother and father and everyone else are OK.

"It was everything. It really relieved all the anxiety I had building up from not being able to speak to them for a whole day," he said.

The students said they were able to lean on each other for support.

"It's just good to know that other people are going through it. It's not like I'm going through it by myself," Bookal said.

The students said their families were spared from any major home damage.

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