Local rescue groups ready to dispatch to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria

ST. LOUIS – St. Louisans are keenly interested in what’s going on in Puerto Rico. Some have friends and family living there; others may soon be headed there to help victims of the Hurricane Maria.

“When they call us, we want to go out and help,” said Randy Sanders, a member of Missouri Task Force 1.

This year, the U.S. government has sent Sanders and other members to help victims of flooding in southern Missouri and victims of Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area. Sanders said he’s now on standby for Puerto Rico and Mexico.

“We make the best out of the worst day of their lives,” he said.

Sander’s close friend, Doug Westoff, is in Puerto Rico. Before communications failed, they texted each other Wednesday morning. His friend told him they had to relocate because from the hotel they were stationed in due to mold and high water.

Cardinals Spanish language broadcaster Bengie Molina and his brothers, Yadier and Jose, are from Puerto Rico. They worry about their family members and friends who still live there. When he was a youngster, Bengie said he remembers hiding under his bed when Hurricane Hugo hit.

“It was horrible. We had a lot of flooding going on; we lost a lot of lives at that time,” Molina said. “That was the worst I faced. This is way worse than that; this is way stronger.”

Molina said he hopes people keep his homeland in their thoughts and prayers. Missouri Task Force Members could be headed to either Mexico or Puerto Rico. They stay near the phones and wait to find out.