Our fellow veteran - Angel Reyes, President, PRRG BVA, Is constantly striving to help his Blinded Veterans in Puerto Rico. Since Hurricane Maria these Blinded Veterans are facing tremendous problems every day in addition to struggling with the disability of blindness.
OUR VOLUNTEER CIVILIAN SPONSOR -
Walt and Michelle Gallaway are private individuals. They have been working with the PR-BVA in San Juan for about 3 years now. Since the hurricane they have helped arrange for the Berkey Company, through their primary distributor, James Enterprises, to provide 200 water purification units to Angel to distribute to the blind vets with the greatest needs that are in the country.
Because the sea ports have been congested and up to 80% of the roads impassable there has been no way to get water purification units to them until the Berkey Group told us of their warehouse in PR where product is received and prepared for shipment to the US mainland. With the cooperation and generosity of the Berkey organization at every level, a plan was developed to release those filters directly to the VA Hospital, care of Angel Reyes, who took upon himself the task of taking those purifiers to the neediest blind vets, as well as a few other vets who were in unimaginably desperate situations.
The VA Blind Rehab Chief, Matthew Hogel, working with the VA Hospital Chief of Staff, Actel Román, were instrumental in addressing HIPAA regulations so that every blind vet could be identified and accessed with an offer of a water purifier.
A team of blind vets served in many capacities, from assembling and priming the units, to loading them and helping transport them, paying for their own gasoline and using their families' personal vehicles. Angel, his wife and 3 sons with the help of Ruben Sanchez and his son have driven, walked, floated and slogged through every imaginable situation to get to the doorsteps of over 200 of those men and women, carrying a word of support and a water purifier as a gift of encouragement. In short, this has become a TEAM effort, with the Puerto Rico BVA putting the boots on the ground to get it done.
Walt & Michelle Gallaway, supplied the PR--BVA and PR-BRC with 200 Berkey Water Purifier Systems since the hurricane. They are also providing Solar Powered Flashlight/Radio/Audio Bible Units to Vets through the BVA and BRC in Puerto Rico.
Thanks to Angel Reyes, his wife and 3 sons, and Ruben Sanchez and his son, who used their own money and vehicles to deliver these items, with the help of a few other volunteers and the support of the VIST Staff of the Blind Rehab Center, and Matthew Hogel, Chief of the BRC, over 200 have been personally placed in the hands of Blinded Veterans, mostly in remote areas that still have no lights, electricity, phone service or drinkable water.
The Gallaway’s, with input from the PR-BVA, PR-BRS and the VA Hospital in San Juan have identified safe drinking water as one of the most pressing needs at this time and will be providing free "Berkey Sport" Water Filter portable bottles to attendees @ roughly $20 per bottle. (See picture below). This type of gift will be continue to be a valuable asset to our Vets long after FEMA is gone. Puerto Rico needs our support more now than ever!