Puerto Rican Fort Riley soldier shares his family’s life after Hurricane Maria

FORT RILEY, Kan. (KSNT) — More than a month has gone by since Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico. Now, a Fort Riley soldier is telling his family’s struggles since the devastation.

Chief Warrant Officer Edwin Reyes has been stationed in Fort Riley since 2014. Mid-September of 2017 is when the category 5 hurricane hit where Reyes said he was more than 2 thousand miles away from his family. He said he was mostly worried about his parents’ home which was only a 20×20 wooden house. Reyes says his dad put tension cables on top of the home and secured them into the ground and later prayed. The storm came through, but Reyes still couldn’t reach his relatives.

Days after Maria, a friend of Reyes’ went to his parents’ home and recorded a video of his sister. His sister said she and the rest of the family were okay and the house is still standing.

“To me, that was a miracle,” Reyes said. “Believe it or not, I still feel it to this day. I still feel the goosebumps, you know, almost 40 days later. When I heard them say everything was okay, I couldn’t resist it, but to start crying.”

But now, thousands of people in Puerto Rico are dealing with the aftermath. Trees, homes and cars have been destroyed. Reyes said his family tells him their normal 85 to 90 degree weather feels much hotter without the protection from trees. Just to get a bag of ice or even gas is a 2 to 4 hour wait.

From there, Reyes said he went to Walmart to send his family and other Puerto Ricans a few meals ready to eat (MRE).

He says he recently spoke with his family who says they’re taking every day a day at a time.

“Let’s pray for this island of Puerto Rico,” Reyes said. “This island really gives so much to the whole world. I’m talking about baseball players, I’m talking about musical artists and I’m talking about military like me.”

As far as Reyes going home to Puerto Rico, he said he decided to stay in Fort Riley because he didn’t want to take up space where another person in dire need could sleep or take food away from someone in need. He says his family is always welcome to come live with him in Fort Riley at anytime.

Reyes said his family is currently being supported by the American Red Cross.

If you’d like to help support Officer Reyes or the other thousands of people in need of help in Puerto Rico you can! You can visit United for Puerto Rico on Facebook to help. For money donations click here or here.

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