San Diego developer and President Donald Trump's choice for U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas, "Papa Doug" Manchester traveled to the islands to see the damage from Hurricane Dorian firsthand.
Manchester spoke to NBC 7 Thursday from his office in downtown San Diego.
He said he traveled to the Bahamas on Saturday, Sept. 7 and delivered 2,000 pounds of relief supplies using his own private plane. The supplies included pallets of MREs and water along with a generator, 2 portable A/C units, tarps, lights, baby supplies, medical supplies and tools and gloves.
He described flying over the devastation in Abaco using a float plane and said even the most substantially built homes on that island sustained serious damage.
A preliminary report estimates Dorian caused some $7 billion in damage, but the government has not yet offered any figures.
There are approximately 2,500 people considered missing on the islands. Families have been devastated by the destruction, he said.
"I held a little boy in my arms. His mother and father are gone. All he wanted was a hug,” Manchester said.
Through his charitable organization, Manchester is collecting donations to help the Bahamas rebuild.
The organization has received thousands of dollars in donations from people all across the U.S., he said.
"You can’t sort of ignore it. You have to give it your time, talent and treasury to help these wonderful brothers and sisters," Manchester said.
His nomination to serve as ambassador to the Bahamas has yet to be approved by the U.S. Congress.
However, Manchester said U.S. representation is vital for the islands to recover. "I'm looking forward to being that U.S. representation," he said.
Manchester has a long history with San Diego, having developed Navy property in downtown San Diego into the twin towers of Manchester Grand Hyatt. In 2011, he purchased the U-T San Diego. He went on to purchase The North County Times in 2012.
For more information on the donation drive, go to the charity's website.
Manchester pledged to "match every dollar that comes in."
He also noted that although it will be years before Abaco and Grand Bahama islands are rebuilt, there are many other islands to visit in the Bahamas.