Trinity High School teachers 'overwhelmed' as they deliver supplies to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico
Chad Waggoner has seen the coverage and heard the conversations about Puerto Rico. But the Trinity High School teacher wasn't prepared for what he saw with his own eyes.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Chad Waggoner has seen the coverage and heard the conversations about Puerto Rico. But the Trinity High School teacher wasn't prepared for what he saw with his own eyes.
"When we were flying in, you're overlooking, and you see all these blue tarps on these houses," Waggoner said. "Those images don't tell the whole story. I mean, these are homes that not only have the roof taken off, but everything inside the home was ripped away too."
He and his co-worker Maria Martin flew back to her childhood home Wednesday, loaded down with donations and supplies from their Trinity family.
"It overwhelmed us," Waggoner said by phone. "As we're traveling the island, going along the coast and up into the mountains, we're hearing the same stories over and over. People have lost everything."
Waggoner and Martin's first stop was just outside San Juan, where Martin's family lives. Waggoner documented every gut-wrenching step.
"We've met different people here on the island, such as Erica Valez," Waggoner said. "She has a really nice home, and she changed it into a warehouse ... a distribution center."
They also met Marcos, a UPS mechanic.
"He has no home," Waggoner said. "But yet he was compelled to stay on the island, because he knows if he leaves, there's not going to be a mechanic to make sure the UPS planes can come in and out and continue to bring the supplies."
Then there's Senora Castro, whose home is all but gone.
"She was like, 'Right now, this is great, because now I have no walls between me and God. And so when I sit here, I know he can hear my prayers,'" Waggoner said. "Maria and I wept."
In just a few days, the two Trinity High School teachers heard story after heartbreaking story of destruction, despair and determination.
"You see neighbors that are sharing their generator," Waggoner said. "They're allowing an extension cord to come off of their generator."
And through it all, they're seeing signs of rebirth for the people of Puerto Rico and the island.
"This storm did not knock Puerto Rico down," Waggoner said. "They are standing up, and they are coming back to life, much like the island's natural beauty is coming back to life."
Waggoner and Martin gave out more supplies Friday and will be back out early Saturday delivering supplies before they leave Saturday night.
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