As the 13th named storm, seventh hurricane, fourth major hurricane, and second Category 5 hurricane in the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, Hurricane Maria caused devastation across the Northeast Caribbean. One of the areas hit by the tropical storm was the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, reaching the island’s shores Sept. 20, causing massive damage to the entire island.
In order to aid relief efforts in Puerto Rico, the American Red Cross stood up a call center on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, with a mission to reunify those effected by the storm.
Staff Sgt. Alberto Garcia, 86th Civil Engineer Squadron lead firefighter, was born and raised in Puerto Rico, so when he heard about the Red Cross looking for volunteers, he immediately joined.