We are sharing the following message about a relief effort spearheaded in Chicago for Puerto Rico that was written by Epstein’s Ryan Lezcano, a project engineer in our structural engineering department. Ryan is a native of Puerto Rico and still has numerous family members and friends living on the Island. As you can imagine Ryan is deeply concerned about the devastation that has beset his homeland and he’s struggling with how best to help his fellow Puerto Ricans who are trying to recover with limited resources and access to food and clean water. As you will read and see, Ryan is making a significant impact on the Puerto Rican relief efforts, and if you are so inclined, he offers ways in which you can help as well.
As most of you know, Puerto Rico was just hit by one of the worst hurricanes in the history of the Caribbean. Our island, the place I still consider home, is currently facing a humanitarian crisis that is difficult to put into words. The impact caused by Hurricanes Irma and María have dramatically changed the lives of 3.5 million American citizens. Our families, friends, and other Puerto Rican residents are currently struggling to find the most basic essentials. One hundred percent of the island has now been without power for one week, there is scarce water to shower or even drink, and communication is incredibly limited.
My wife and I have been trying to figure out the best way to help our precious island during this difficult time. Over the past years, I’ve been involved as the vice president of the board for one of the longest standing Puerto Rican organizations in the city of Chicago, Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center.
The cultural center successfully raised $67,000 through a partnership with The Puerto Rican Agenda, an unincorporated organization of local Puerto Rican leaders that seeks to influence policy for the advancement of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago.
Together with Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Congressman Luis Gutierrez and United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, we have secured transportation for collected donations and supplies. A cargo plane from United, ground transportation by Custom Trucking Inc., and logistical support were arranged to distribute resources throughout the island with the direct help from Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz. We received confirmation that the shipment arrived in San Juan International Airport in the early afternoon of 9/25/17 and left the airport for distribution around 8:00 pm Chicago time on the same day. The same cargo plane came back to Chicago that night with 300 evacuees from the island.
The Puerto Rican community of Chicago is doing its part to secure another plane to leave Chicago in the coming days. I ask my fellow Epsteiners to please join this effort to buy new and professionally packaged goods for this humanitarian mission. Please help our fellow American citizens in these desperate times while facing one of the biggest natural disasters.
Please help Puerto Rico with a donation of any amount today.
Any support means the world to me and our families!
Ryan Lezcano PE SE