They’re tired, but also proud.
A group with the Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury, Inc. just returned Tuesday afternoon from a goodwill trip to Puerto Rico and only News 8 was there when they arrived back home in The Brass City.
“It was an incredible, humbling experience for me and the team who were there to see how the people are still suffering, still people without electricity,” said Felix Rodriguez, a coalition member.
“Quite frankly, there are still quite a few homes that need to be rebuilt from the ground up,” said Waterbury State Rep. Geraldo Reyes, Jr., who’s also part of the coalition and was part of the goodwill trip. “If I had to make an estimation, the cleanup of the island is about 75 percent complete.”
Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico in September of 2017 — more than a year ago. Coalition members have made several trips, donating supplies from the greater Waterbury community to help people recover physically and emotionally.
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“When we handed out candies, to see the smiles on the kids’ faces and when we handed out books to build the school’s library, it was incredible to see how excited they were,” said Rodriguez.
Both members of the group say the goodwill from the Waterbury community will continue and the coalition hopes to deliver more supplies during more trips next year.
“To see that Waterbury has made a positive impact in Puerto Rico is incredibly touching,” said Rodriguez. “We still have work to do.”
“Puerto Rico, continue to hang in there moving forward and we will never forget you,” said Rep. Reyes.