October 10, 2017
MANSFIELD, PA (WENY) -- One employee from Mansfield University who is originally from Puerto Rico is spear-heading an effort to bring aid to the hurricane-stricken island.
Gardy Domenech is the Mail Service Coordinator at Mansfield University. He is originally from the the Town of Aguadilla, which sits on the northwest part of
island of Puerto Rico. He moved to the mainland when he was 17, but still has most of his family there.
"I still have my mother there, my sister, my nephew and relatives and friends from high school still there," he explains.
After Hurricane Maria struck the island, Gardy says it took days before he made contact with his loved ones.
"It was scary, it was really scary just to waiting for those two days to see the whereabouts of my family and friends so it was scary," he says.
"My sister called me last Friday but the signal was really poor, so the communication...I couldn't really have a conversation with her, but they're still dealing with the water issue and the power and they think about a year before it will be restored," Gardy adds.
After seeing pictures on Facebook of the wreckage, Gardy wanted to take action. With the help of the University, he began collecting a variety of donations.
"Some of the items are canned goods, personal hygiene, water, and people are also providing checks for the American Red Cross and money, cash."
But Gardy hopes to help more than just his family. He reached out to friends on Facebook, asking for contact information for people who still need specific
"I actually got like 22 addresses of people I don't even know so next week I'm going to start shipping stuff to Puerto Rico," Gardy says.
Gardy is still in the process of collecting donations, if you would like to help. He will have a collection table set up on Main Street in Mansfield at noon.
“I thank anyone who can do anything to help, and I know the people of Puerto Rico appreciate it too,” Gardy says.
For more information on the Puerto Rico Relief Drive, email firstname.lastname@example.org