Gautier family helps after Hurricane Maria
Yesterday marked six months since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. Although progress has been made, a local Gautier family that helped with hurricane relief efforts says there is still lots of work to be done.
A Gautier family of four left the comfort of their Mississippi home for three months to help aid Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria knocked out power to the entire island, leaving at least 64 people dead. Gautier resident Howard Rowell said, “Everybody needs help every now and then and they need a lot of help.”
After the hurricane, it was reported that more than 135,000 Puerto Ricans left the island for the U.S. mainland, but Rowell and his family did the opposite in hopes of making a difference. “Out of the disaster I hope something very good comes. I hope that families become closer and that people realize ‘hey if I have oranges and you have lemons, let’s trade.’”
Through Rowell’s trip he got acquainted with natives like Angel Echevarria, who agrees that unity will help them overcome the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. “I personally didn’t move elsewhere because I thought that if I was going to put in work and prosper it had to be in Puerto Rico because being somewhere else means I wouldn’t be able to help Puerto Rico.”
Several state power companies including Mississippi Power have hands on contributed to helping the island. Currently less than one hundred thousand people are still without power. “I’m not sure that it is going to be the place that I use to love. I mean it’s still a beautiful island, but there is so much torn up.”
Rowell and his family are back from their trip, but they believe the help must continue.