Letter: Applause for efforts to aid Puerto Rico

To the Editor:

Three cheers for Jim Goodine's leadership in organizing this Hurricane Maria Relief Mission to a small mountain town in Puerto Rico. From fundraising to recruiting volunteers from Vermont, New York state, and Chicago, to connecting with Habitat for Humanity and other disaster-relief organizations, Jim overcame multiple obstacles to restore houses in the highlands for the poorest of the poor.

My husband and I hosted him in our home and saw him work 12-hour days for three weeks to resolve problems that arose continuously. Lodging for some 25 volunteers changed three times and not finalized until the day before the team's arrival. Materials were another headache. Some were insufficient, wrong sized, poor quality or not delivered. Jim had to unload lumber from the ship at port, sort through it for damaged goods, and exchange or buy more. Other hassles arose endlessly.

The victims, feeling abandoned by both the local and federal authorities, expressed their appreciation for his team's commitment to easing their suffering. Many families were awed that this tenacious Vermonter, a state few if any knew about, would care so much about distressed puertorriquenos to bring them some relief.

Wilma Feliciano, PhD,

Highland, N.Y.

The author is professor emerita at SUNY New Paltz and former Bennington-area resident.


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