After two weeks in Puerto Rico, the Teamsters Disaster Relief finished their two-week long mission to bring the island back on its feet after it suffered the most devastating storm in modern history.
“I’m glad we were able to help, even if it was in a small way,” said Roy Gillespie, Joint Council 13 Human Rights Coordinator. “There’s going to be a lot more needed for the long term. They won’t be able to get back on their feet until everyone has clean drinking water, electricity, and all the stuff we take for granted. You go to stores, and the shelves are bare or there are still lines around the block.”
“When you’re at home watching this with your family, you can feel sorry about what’s going on there, but you have the luxury of turning off the TV and forgetting about it,” said Carl Gasca, a Local 174 Business Agent who was returning from San Juan. “These people will never forget about it. And the Puerto Rican people I met, they are truly wonderful people. They have a smile on their face, and they hope for the best but expect the worst.”
Jose Padilla is a Local 282 member that works for U.S. Concrete, and he has family on the island. As he boarded a flight, he reflected upon his time in the disaster zone.
“I felt good that I did this, and I’m happy that I did it for the proper cause,” said Padilla. “I’m proud that I was a part of this project, and I really hope that this island can recover. Now that this is over, the only thing I’m afraid of is planes – I really don’t like flying.”
International Brotherhood of Teamsters