Dunlop "Loppy" Munnings, pictured with his parents. (Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ NewsRadio)
COHASSET, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The bonds of friendship run strong for two Cohasset families and a Bahamian man they met a few years ago.
Now, after Hurricane Dorian changed that man's life forever, those families are trying to raise money for him to attend college here in Massachusetts.
Dunlop "Loppy" Munnings, 23, became friends with Laura DeSisto and Andrea Buffum and their families after he gave them scuba-diving lessons in the Bahamas six years ago.
"Since that time, Loppy has been to the States to visit us numerous times in Cohasset," DeSisto told WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe. "He's just really become part of our family. We always say that, he's like family."
Loppy has been saving money with the goal of attending Quincy College for computer science.
"That has been his dream, it was his mother's dream," said DeSisto. "As a result of that, he actually left the dive shop about six months ago and took a job on a yacht as crew because it was more lucrative, and he was trying to save money for college—specifically Quincy College, where he had visited with Andrea."
Loppy was working on that private yacht off the coast of Maine when Hurricane Dorian struck his home.
His neighborhood of High Rock was devastated, and he lost his mother, his brother, and his six-year-old nephew.
"It brought me to my knees," he said. "My neighborhood is completely gone. My house, there's nothing left—like nothing. It's devastating, words can't even describe. And on top of that, my family."
He couldn't get back to the Bahamas right away, so he stayed in Cohasset with DeSisto and Buffum, who he considers surrogate mothers.
"He just left heart-wrenching messages saying 'I think my family's gone, I need to come to Cohasset, I need to come to my second home, I need to be around family'," said DeSisto.
Now, Loppy is back in the Bahamas to console his grieving father—and his Massachusetts family has started a GoFundMe titled "Love for Loppy" to raise money to bring him here.
"To see someone who is so appreciative, and who is going to have his life changed in an incredible direction, makes me feel so good," said Buffum.
The GoFundMe has raised several thousand dollars so far.
"It's a blessing," said DeSisto. "Out of this terrible tragedy, we've seen beautiful things. We've seen just amazing support from friends and family. We feel closer than ever to Loppy, and he sends us the cutest messages sometimes. He'll send us a group message, Andrea and I, and he calls us his momma bears."
Loppy hopes to start at Quincy College in January.
You can donate to the GoFundMe here.
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports