Columbia, SC (WLTX) – A family from the U.S. Virgin Islands has found refuge in the Midlands.

“Scary and unexpected,” 14-year-old Devante Carty remembers Hurricanes Irma and Maria vividly.

He and his little brother Demarcus now live on Fort Jackson with their aunt after the hurricanes destroyed their home and many of their belongings back in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

“We was in our living room then we went to our bedrooms and we saw water was coming in from the windows,” Carty said.

Carty’s mom sent her children here so that they could go to school.

“Miss my family, and my school and friends,” he said.

It's a big change for him and a big change for his aunt.

“I already have two kids and then I have two nephews so the adjustment to having four kids, it's challenging,” Toya Alexander-Cruz explained. “I'm thankful I'm able to help my sisters and my nephews so I'm grateful for that.”

The important things are magnified especially when the storms threatened her family's safety back at home.

“I couldn't function at work. I couldn't focus at work. My co-workers were you know they were there to console me,” Alexander-Cruz said. “I was just terrified. I lived through a Cat. 3 and a Cat. 5 was just you know unheard of.”

She said many of her family members still do not have power even weeks after the storms.

But despite the challenges, the family is holding onto a silver lining.

“You know the good thing is that they have life, and that's important to me and that's important to them, we still have each other,” Alexander-Cruz said.