OCTOBER 6, 2017, Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico – U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers assigned to 471st Engineering Company, 448th Engineering Battalion, Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, and other Army Reserve units like it, have been helping clear roads throughout Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria devastated the island on Sept. 20, 2017.
The Soldiers from the Army Reserve in Puerto Rico are currently providing support to the local community by purifying water, clearing roads, delivering fuel to hospitals and other very important tasks around the island.
The 471st is clearing local road 128, near Ponce, Puerto Rico, of an innumerable amount of trees, bushes, and other debris that are currently blocking traffic and preventing locals from getting the medical help they need. The road connects the city of Ponce to Hospital de Castaner.
Soldiers have been removing fallen debris from the road in order to facilitate the delivery of fuel and medicine to the hospital that services the community of Adjuntas and neighboring communities.
“It is an honor to be serving the community in Puerto Rico and to assist with the cleaning of the roads,” said U.S. Army Reserve Master Sgt. Wigber Torres, a general engineering supervisor with 471st, a resident of Juana Diaz, and the officer in charge of the team entrusted to clean local road 128. “For many citizens this is the closest they are to medical care and it is important that we clear this road.”
Torres said that they are in charge of cleaning the road from kilometer 2 and will continue to kilometer 59, which will allow access the hospital.
U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Esteban Rodriguez, a carpentry and masonry specialist, 448th, is part of a team soldiers working on the clearing the road.
“I feel very proud to be able to bring back hope to the people in the community, they need this road to access the hospital,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez also said that many citizens, who live along the road, are happy to see the Army Reserve soldiers helping the community. The citizens are providing the soldiers with water, fruit, and thank them for their work.
“This is Puerto Ricans helping Puerto Ricans in a time of crisis,” said Torres.
Story by Sgt. Edgar Valdezdeleon
U.S. Army Reserve Command