Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 17, 2022 causing massive flooding and leaving widespread damage across the island. Less than a month later, the founder of Heart 9/11, Bill Keegan, coordinated with Santos Rodriguez of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and SOMOS Inc. to dispatch members from New York City’s union trades to assist in the recovery of Ponce, Puerto Rico, on the south side of the island.

Local 3 designated a six-person delegation led by Santiago Iglesias Educational Society (SIES) Vice President Rob Martin joined by NYECA Secretary Edwin Lopez, NYECA Assistant Executive Secretary Peter Rescigno, Business Representative Louis Sanchez, Jason Rivera, retired Financial Secretary Luis Restrepo, and retiree Edwin Napaleoni. The group of volunteers restored power to the central air system at a local nursing home, repaired and supported the roof, as well as performing multiple interior repairs. In addition, work was completed at a community center, including the build-out of classrooms intended to train locals in construction skills, new classrooms on the second floor, and repairs and updates to the on-site daycare facility.

Although there is much work still to be done in the recovery of Puerto Rico, trade unionists worked tirelessly to ensure we left a positive impact on the community in Ponce.

Report and photos submitted by SIES Vice President Rob Martin.