Pharmacist living in St. Thomas survives Hurricane Irma, returns to the Valley

- Jeremy Leckington and his wife, Heather, sat in awe as they watched the video he shot of the moment Hurricane Irma descended on their St. Thomas home.

"It's like a five-to-six-foot wave coming in right now," he said.

Leckington and his 21-year-old son were in the midst of the storm.

"There's nothing I can really compare it to," he said. "Growing up in Arizona, we've had dust storms and stuff roll through, but I've never seen anything like this, nor do I ever want to experience anything like this."

It was Wednesday, September 6 when the Category 4 hurricane made landfall on the St. Thomas Virgin Islands where Leckington had worked as a pharmacist for the past year.

Half his family had just returned home and he was set to leave days later.

"Unfortunately, a lot of the homes around us, the roofs were just ripped off," he said. "Just roofing pieces, metal down. The roof wrapped around telephone poles."

The storm knocked out power and there was no way to communicate with his wife in Arizona.

"Power just went out," Heather said. "Love you, hope you get this. I love you too. Please update me as much as you can."

The last text came in at 3 a.m. Arizona time on Wednesday. Heather heard from her husband again Thursday night.

"When he finally called I just started crying," she said. "[I was] emotional, happy they were safe."

It took Jeremy and his son a week to get off the island. A cruise ship took them to Puerto Rico where they managed to catch a Delta Airlines flight to Sky Harbor.

They arrived last night.

"I can't even say if I really understand that I am here yet," Jeremy said. "It's all kind of settling in still."

The images are unspeakable, just like the destruction Leckington says he left behind. While grateful he and his family are safe, his hope now is that the island he called home will rebuild so they can return to visit.

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