Lt. Enrique Coreano thought he was heading to Texas to help with hurricane relief.
Instead, he is currently in Puerto Rico.
One of two — along with his wife — leaders of the Dodge City Salvation Army deployed on Oct. 22 and is expected to return next Friday, Nov. 10.
"My responsibilities are to be one of two Salvation Army representatives in a conference room full of government (local, state and federal officials), profit and non-profit agencies, as well as local, federal police agencies, and military agencies (US Army, US Air Force, US Navy, US Coast Guard) working to help the entire island," Coreano said in correspondence from the island. "There are currently more than 1,000 people in our location (JFO: Joint Force Operation). "
All of these agencies are collaborating efforts to assist as many communities and people as possible. We are handing out water bottles, food, hygiene products, filtration systems and other essential items in order try and meet basic human needs.
"My role as the Liason Officer for The Salvation Army is to reach out to different agencies to seek supplies for the communities where we already have brick and mortar locations (Arecibo, Bayamon, Caguas, Fajardo, Guyama, Humacao, Loiza, Mayaguez, Penuelas, Ponce and San Juan)."
According to Coreano, many people are in need of many basic items.
"The local Salvation Army locations are providing food and water," he said. "Other locations are providing showers, hygiene products, cleaning products and emotional and spiritual care. We also have teams reaching other communities that have not been contacted, yet were heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma and then Hurricane Maria.
"The areas in the mountains are much harder to reach due to downed power lines, trees, mud slides and other complicated issues. Our goal as a JFO moving forward is to begin working on many of the long-term issues such as power, water, communication and sanitation.
Despite his return next week, Coreano doesn’t see relief efforts ending any time soon.
"It is being discussed that these efforts may need to continue till at least the beginning — if not the middle of — next year," he said.
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