Open Letters to the Ocracoke Community

The family of Debbie Fraga would like to thank the island community.

Ocracoke resident Ken DeBarth sent us this letter about the tragic drowning of his sister, Debbie Fraga: 

Dear Ocracoke Family:

As you probably know, a woman drowned here on August 11th and her daughter was flown to the Greenville hospital for observation and treatment of near-drowning.

What you might not know is it was my sister, Deborah DeBarth Fraga, who died and my niece, Amanda Fraga, 17, who was airlifted off island. Mandi is physically OK. We brought her back from Greenville the next day.

At a time of tragedy like this the true beauty of the Ocracoke Community emerges.

On the behalf of my family, I want to thank all the emergency responders and concerned volunteers who assisted on the beach.

I watched as EMS, law enforcement officers from several agencies, members of the fire department and others labored in the 100+ degree heat, sweating through their uniforms while doing CPR, resuscitation, and helping in so many ways.

Their efforts were truly heroic.

Other members of the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department left their jobs and their homes to secure the helipad and direct traffic.

We also thank all the community members who reached out to us with cards, texts, food, and other support.

I will not mention individual names for fear of leaving someone out. If you were there or if you helped in any way, we thank you.

As hard as this is, we are blessed to be on Ocracoke and to be members of this wonderful community.

The Family of Debbie Fraga
Ken DeBarth
Ruth Fordon
Jean DeBarth
Joseph Fraga
Amanda Fraga

Ken's father, Jean DeBarth, wrote the following letter to the community:

Dear Friends,

We visited Ocracoke many times in the past and enjoyed it all. We eagerly explored the town, the beach, shops and restaurants, but most of all we enjoyed the people. On these visits we missed seeing the heart and love you have until a tragedy struck.  

That is when you came forth with the support that helped us through the most difficult time of our lives.

Debbie, Joe and Mandi Fraga with Jean DeBarth were visiting Ruth Fordon and Ken DeBarth when the tragedy struck.

On August 11, 2016 at 1:58 in the afternoon we lost Debbie. She and her daughter Mandi were caught in a rip tide. Mandi made it out but her mom did not.  The early responders did all they could but they could not save our Debbie.

What happened next can only be described as a miracle. As the news spread, you came with physical and mental support that showed what we missed in our past visits.

There are no words that can adequately describe how we feel. We suffer because of our loss but we now have a much stronger feeling for the people of Ocracoke.

Thank you for the support you gave our family.


Jean E. DeBarth

Comments powered by Disqus