Fort Wayne man home from trip to Puerto Rico, but ready to go back

Fort Wayne man David Hernandez took this picture while helping with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. (Courtesy: David Hernandez)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – More than a month after Hurricane Maria slammed the island of Puerto Rico most of its citizens are still without power. One local man wanted to see the devastation for himself. Even after experiencing no power, no running water and no cell phone service– David Hernandez wasn’t ready to leave.

“It looked like part of a war zone,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez knew he wanted to help. But he didn’t know where–Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico? So, he asked others if they wanted to go with him to one of the disaster-ridden areas.

“One of my friends who is from Puerto Rico said let’s go,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez and his friend headed down to Puerto Rico last Sunday with duffel bags full of basic supplies– clothes, batteries, flashlights. There, they stayed with family.

“We initially helped [his family], and got them what they needed,” Hernandez said. “They didn’t have power. His mom didn’t get power while we were there which is now seven weeks into the devastation.”

Hernandez described tree and building debris still littering the island, and snapped power lines.

“Hardly any of it has been cleaned up,” he said.

Then, there are people’s homes and businesses. Some cement buildings in the capital of San Juan were lucky. Others were not.

“A young lady lost her entire house,” Hernandez said. “It blew up, basically blew up. We helped her tear the rest of her house apart which was a sad thing to do.”

Even when things do get cleaned up, Hernandez is worried what the long term effects will be including weeks of no running water.

“It’s just a bad situation because that’s going to bring in more disease, more illnesses,” Hernandez said. “It’s just dirty. Those are the type of things that really worry me.”

While Hernandez is physically back in Fort Wayne his mind is still with the island of Puerto Rico. He plans to return in December. First, he is collecting monetary and material donations. You can drop off needed materials– water filters, toiletries, Hernandez even recommends dried meats– to Hernandez’s business Sud’n Impact Gym at 2429 W. Main St., Fort Wayne. You can also visit his Gofundme here.