By Roberto Muñiz, President & CEO of Parker
I was born in Puerto Rico, an island with a soul and spirit you carry with you throughout your life. I recently had the chance to go back for a visit, but as you can imagine, it was not quite the same. The devastation from Hurricane Maria in September was evident at every turn.
I was privileged to join a delegation of LeadingAge staff and members who travelled to the island to bring much-needed funds to six LeadingAge senior housing communities. Parker’s employees and residents raised over $14,000 which our organization matched, and the monies were contributed to the LeadingAge Disaster Relief Fund to help victims of the natural disasters in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. Money was needed for food, water, fuel, medicine and other necessities.
When we arrived, what I first noticed was the devastation, but when I looked a little closer, I saw a spirit of resilience and hope among the people we visited. We travelled to several subsidized senior housing communities and heard stories of staff leaving their own homes and families to provide support to residents who had no electricity, limited supplies and little to no communications.
The funds provided support to both the communities and their staff, one of whom wrote to say thank you for the monies which helped them repair a roof that was blown away by the hurricane and replace belongings damaged by the storm that flooded their home.
While staff endured loss of homes, cars, personal belongings and in the very worst case, of loved ones, their thoughts still turned to those who depend on them.
While we were able to provide monetary support, the staff provided something much more important - reassurance that someone was there for residents in the worst of times.
Puerto Rico is a soul and spirit I carry with me throughout my life. No hay nada como el hogar!
Click here to read more about my trip in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News