After our efforts to collect hurricane relief donations working with the city of Aurora Police and Fire Departments, we felt the need to do more. We contacted an organization called Rescate Mi Isla (Rescue my Island), who in turn set us up in an empty house, owned by a family now living on the mainland, in the municipality of Quebradillas, Puerto Rico. They also put us in contact with a police officer, who set us up to volunteer in Quebradillas and the municipality of Camuy. In Quebradillas, we settled in with a group called Black Flag Search and Rescue. Working with them, we spent our 15 days on the island of Puerto Rico assisting with tarping roofs and handing out relief supplies as well performing tree and debris removal going from a list from the municipalities of Camuy and Quebradillas.
During our time in Puerto Rico we saw the extent of the destruction, how much of the island was still without electricity and running water. We saw many destroyed homes and businesses. We saw FEMA assisting with the recovery and numerous Army and National Guard units doing the same.
We flew down to Puerto Rico on our own dime, using our vacation time. I went down with my brother Alvin Soto, a police officer/crime scene investigator with the city of Aurora; my cousin Eddie Perez, a retired Commander with city of Batavia Police Department; and Gerald Marrero, Sargent with the city of Aurora Police Department.
The weather the entire time we were there was hot and humid, which without electricity and running water made things difficult for many people.
This of course has a personal aspect for all of us, as we all have some family living on the island. They all came to aid as well, from picking us up at the airport and getting us to Quebradillas, to loaning us vehicles to accomplish our goals, to making us home cooked meals.
We are grateful to Rescate Mi Isla for their tremendous help to all those affected by Hurricane Irma. If you would like more information on how you can help, please visit their Facebook page at: Fundacion Al Rescate De Mi Isla.
Puerto Rico Mario Soto
JC Licht’s Addison Driver, Mario Soto, donated his time to the Aurora Police and Fire Department to collect donations for the hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. Mario will spend two weeks in Puerto Rico helping those in need. Thank you, Mario, for making it happen!