The leaky roof has been repaired. The kitchen is coming along, but there’s more to do. Same with the bathroom.
The do-it-yourself plastering project unfortunately required a redo. Water and power have been restored for months, but bottled water remains a safer choice over drinking tap water.
Eight months after being slammed for days by Hurricane Dorian’s sustained 185-mph winds, life is slowly returning to normal for Quentin Hall and his family in his native Bahamas. There is always something that requires his attention, whether it’s replacing the family car that finally quit running or finding the rare available carpenter to work on the bathroom.
For the last five weeks or so, the Halls are essentially staying at home to do their part in reducing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Hall’s wife, Vanessa, has returned to work as a pharmacist.
“I was telling my oldest boy this has been an incredible eight months,” said Hall, the feisty, 5-foot-8 guard on Gonzaga’s 1999 Elite Eight squad. “Man, what (Hall’s three sons) experienced in eight months I haven’t experienced in 41 years.”
None of it interferes with Hall’s positive disposition, though even the most optimistic need a timely pick-me-up or two. He’s pleased to report there have been numerous examples of those along the way.
“At times I really felt like giving up, I kid you not,” Hall said. “Every time I started to think like that, one of the kids I taught or coached would knock on the door and start helping me, so I had to get up and keep going.
“It’s just amazing, faith and belief is a serious thing.”
The devastation from the country’s most powerful hurricane on record brought humanitarian workers to the Bahamas, including a fellow Zag who donated some supplies for Hall’s house.
“He was helping the ministry of education and the district superintendent he was with used to coach me,” Hall said. “His group was helping people in Abaco (Island) where they’re really bad off. He just followed wherever he said he was most needed. Really nice guy.”
The man arrived in the Bahamas when Hall was in Spokane in November for The Spokesman-Review’s Northwest Passages “World Court” event on Gonzaga’s international recruiting that doubled as a fundraiser for Hall’s family.
Hall reconnected with former classmates, teammates and the coaching staff, including head coach Mark Few, who needled the former point guard about putting on a few pounds.
The Northwest Passages event raised $18,500 for the Halls. A GoFundMe page set up by close friend Wes Oliver generated more than $15,000.
“More than anything, what was really pleasant for me was to see a lot of old friends and teammates. That’s uplifting in itself,” Hall said. “Having that break and breather from this daily life, to see (former teammate) Matt Santangelo, Wes and Coach Few, it was really enlightening for us all. You need that.”
And one more thing: “You tell coach Few I could bench press more than him now, he’ll be impressed by that,” Hall chuckled. “I’ve been working out.”
That’s in his spare time. Hall, a junior high physical education teacher, had returned to work and his sons had returned to school before the coronavirus outbreak reached the islands and shut down nonessential businesses. As of Friday, the Bahamas had 81 confirmed cases and 11 deaths.
“We were back in school and now that’s taken away from us again,” Hall said. “It feels like (schools have been closed) for two months, forgive me if I’m forgetting some weeks. You forget stuff.”
Hall’s typical day includes dropping Vanessa off at work, making meals for the family and checking off items on the house’s lengthy to-do list. His boys are keeping up with their studies virtually on their tablets.
High winds and knee-deep water caused extensive damage to Hall’s house on Grand Bahama Island, but he’s making progress with repairs.
“We had to take out everything, clean it out and I spent a whole lot of time dealing with the back side of the roof,” he said. “It had a lot of leaks, but we were able to reshingle. It’s back up and it seems to be steady. Hopefully, I did a good job.
“I’m taking it one day at a time. I’ve been fortunate, a lot of people have come and helped me. It’s amazing how much help we’ve received.”