Eddie Garcia was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 22, 1958 to Carmen Davila, a single mother of seven. He was raised in public housing and attended public schools in San Juan inner city. He lives in Tampa and is a retired Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army. Following Hurricane Maria, he travelled back to his homeland Puerto Rico to lend a helping hand of support. What he saw shook him to his core. These are the stories he told me.
“I went to a home for abused children ages 0-8. Kids do not have bottled water, Pampers, wipes, very little food left. My heart is broken. I saw the faces of my grandkids in them.”
“West of the Island. Very difficult there. Some communities do not have contact because roads are inaccessible and they have no communication.”
“It’s a travesty”
“One of the major problems is the infrastructure in terms of communication and electricity”
“I’m right now in the corner and I’m afraid to move because I’m afraid I’m going to lose connection.”
“The devastation in terms of the electrical and communications infrastructure, that was devastating. And part of the anxiety is because people cannot communicate.”
The Tzadik’s Ordeal
Orian and Katherine Tzadek moved to Puerto Rico from St. Petersburg more than a year ago. When Hurricane Maria slammed into the Island, they rode the storm out with the two young children. When the storm passed, they were left stranded with little food and little hope. After WFLA News Channel 8 aired their story, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman got involved. He called the CEO of Tropic Ocean Airways. The flew the family back to the Mainland. I talked to them via Skype.
“I can't even begin to describe the emotions we've been feeling. we've got a lot ot do.. it's a bit overwhelming.. but we're definitely excited to be here.”
“People don't know where to get fresh drinking water.. people are going to the natural springs to get fresh drinking water.”
“People are lining up for gas.. for literally half the day.. they have to sit there. Or longer ... yeah they'll spend the night there.”
“The biggest thing is to raise awareness i think... and show what is going on in Puerto Rico is the real thing.”
Brian Silver the Director of Operations and Captain of Tropics Ocean Airways flight that brought the couple back, said though they can’t fly everyone for free, they aren’t stopping here.
“We're going to try to do our best to fly back and forth. We have smaller aircraft but they're very capable of flying quite a few supplies.”