On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria passed through the Caribbean as a category 5, just two weeks after Hurricane Irma, also a category 5 storm. These storms ravaged the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands. The hurricanes left many people homeless, without power or drinking water. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban quickly jumped into action, lending his plane to Maverick player and Puerto Rico native J.J. Barea and crew to fly in necessary supplies during the crisis.
The Mavericks’ plane has since made multiple humanitarian trips to Puerto Rico. That outreach helped ease the minds of City employees, including Dallas police officers who are from Puerto Rico. They traveled to the island and helped unload the much-needed food, water, and medicine. Some of the employees were able to bring family members back to the U.S. while the island rebuilds.
“I’m extremely grateful to them for letting me help my island and letting me bring my daughter home” said Sr. Corporal Carlos Alicea, whose daughter attends school in Puerto Rico. Communication lines are still out over most of the island, which has made it very difficult for him and others to find out if their loved ones were okay.
Sr. Corporal Ivan Saldaña was eager to help back home.
“It’s hard as a first responder to not be able to help your own family,” said Saldaña who was met by his brother, a Puerto Rican state trooper, at the airport. City of Dallas Public Information Officer Monica Cordova was on the second flight to Puerto Rico. “It was an honor to be able to help in any way,” she said. “We are all very grateful to Mark Cuban and his great staff.”
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