Citizens of the United States have been devastated by three hurricanes this summer, Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Two of these storms caused Americans react with solidarity, money, and prayers. The third, Maria, has been termed a near miss to the mainland.
But there is still Puerto Rico, the fifty-first stepchild in a fifty child family. The people of Puerto Rico are citizens of the United States just at the colonists in North America were citizens of Great Britain before the Revolutionary War. Puerto Rico is in no position to fight the States for independence, but Americans need to remember that, despite not having the right to vote or representation in Congress, they are part of us.
My parents have many friends who have family on the island. Scores of those family members have lost their houses, have no electricity, food or water, and witnessing a climbing death level. They are living in the worst conditions any American citizens have endured in decades.
Not only do our parents have friends from Puerto Rico but so do we. Our besties Max and Baron were both rescued from the streets of Puerto Rico. Few stray dogs survived the flooding. If it weren't for Max and Baron’s wonderful rescue parents, they would not be with us today.
The citizens of Puerto Rico are just like people living in the States. They work hard, want what is best for the family, love and will not leave, their pets.
That devotion nearly cost Sandra Harasimowicz and her husband Gary Rosario their lives. They miscalculated Maria’s ferocity and tried to ride out the storm with their eight cats and seven dogs. The couple did send their two children to higher ground but would not abandon their pets
The couple lived near a river that crested its bank and water slammed into their abode. It quickly filled with water They put the cats on top of the cabinets and then struggled to carry their dogs to the roof where they clung to solar panels. Several times one of the frightened dogs jumped into the water and Gary swam out to save them. When the storm passed the water receded to below their knees, they went back to their mud-filled homes.
Sandra and Gary tried to salvage what they could from their home. At night they put all their dogs in a top bunk and snuggled together. But the water rose again, and they had to break into a neighbor’s house and spend the night in their rooftop annex.
Sandra and Gary will not be rebuilding. After twelve years, and two hellish nights they have decided to move. As a neighbor said, “Puerto Rico is destroyed.”
It has been a year with many disasters, and good people have donated more money than they can afford to help hurricane victims.
But if you have any spare change you can help people in need by donating here
In the words of Lin Manuel Miranda:
“Your citizens are suffering. Stop the bleeding, stop the loss
Help Puerto Rico. It's just a hundred miles across”