ER trainer Tom Louis has been in regular communication with one of our customers in Puerto Rico, Captain Winfrid Melendez, since Hurricane Maria ravaged the island. He explained the situation in his area: "There are a lot of elderly people and children in this neighborhood who have lost their belongings, the roofs of their homes and are struggling to survive because the aid that was promised has not arrived yet. Very few people have generators and along with the rest of us, they have to stand in very long lines for hours without end for just a few gallons of fuel. I'm worried about the children and those people who need to refrigerate their medicine." Tom decided to set up a GoFundMe page so that Winfrid could help those who need it most.
Read Winfrid's letter to Emergency Reporting, re-posted with permission:
My name is Winfrid Melendez and I am a Fire Captain in Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico. I am also a proud customer of Emergency Reporting since June 2010.
As you know, my home Puerto Rico has made headlines in National news in the past few weeks as we survived Category 5 Hurricane Maria on 20 September 2017. This was a historic moment for all of us that seriously marked our existence and forever changed the landscape and the lives of every Puerto Rican in the island and abroad. Family and friends were also affected, and our Government quickly implemented a plan to save countless lives. I think they were successful, but the damage has been so great, that both the Puerto Rican Government and the United States Government have been overwhelmed by the magnitude of this event and the requirements for aid and relief to our people.
Nevertheless, the great citizens of the United States of America jumped into action and quickly started their own efforts to aid the victims of this disaster. People from all walks of life have done incredible things to help us and we will forever be in gratitude for that. Enter into the scene the great people of Emergency Reporting, specifically Mr. Tom Louis.
Let me pause for a moment and give you a little background stuff. As a Fire Captain and Contract Officer Representative I have met people from many different companies that do business with us. Many times I'm the face to the name of Fort Buchanan Fire and Emergency Services to these people. I met Tom online first when I asked for a little help, and then I met him personally in San Diego a few months back. Since then, we have communicated off and on. But on September 21st, this gentleman, Mr. Tom Louis, mentor and friend, quickly sent me a message asking if we were safe and that their prayers were with us.
Why was this email so important to me? I'll tell you why:
As of today, October 4, NO other business partner has contacted me to see how we were doing. But it doesn't stop there. After I wrote him back a day later, Tom quickly jumped into high gear wanting to do more than just ask. He want to help and was really adamant about it. At first I was still in shock with everything that happened that I didn't know what to tell him. Personally, neither myself, my family and my co-workers and their families had major losses, but around us the devastation was incredible. A friend compared it to a Nuclear Winter, and I compare it to a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie. Once we set out to assess the situation I timidly wrote back to Tom and told him that I thought I knew how he and his friends could help. Here is the product of that conversation: A GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/erhelpingpuertorico
He set it all up. He sent it out. He put the gears in motion...
And in 13 hours the site reached more than half of the initial goal!
And...today we have surpassed the goal. I spoke to Tom today, and though we shifted a little from the original idea, we are still going to put that money to good use for the people who need it most: our elderly. And do you know what Tom said? He said that he trusted me fully with the use of the donations. He even gave me total control of the GoFundMe page so that I could access the funds immediately!
So, in return, I told Tom that I was going to make sure that every penny is accounted for. I intend to post receipts, pictures of everything that is purchased and whenever possible, pictures of the recipients and part of their story. I think it'll be great because everyone that donates will be able to see with their own eyes where their hard earned money goes to. They will be able to see the final result of their donations.
To this moment, I still can't believe my eyes when I see that people from far away, people that I barely know are willing to do so much for us. This is why I'm writing to you. I feel the need to tell you that you have built a company with the highest integrity I have ever seen. Everyone that I have spoken to: Tom, Lee Kleve, and a few others have always treated me with such high regard, that I can't stop talking about how great your company is. I even tell everyone that someday I want to work for ER. I don't know how you did it, but you have managed to hire some of the most honorable people on the planet. Please, don't change what you are doing. ER is the epitome of what a great company should be. I feel very humble to know that people like Tom regard me as their friend and that people like him actually worry about our well-being; I could never repay what the integrity of your people has done for me.
Please, let Tom and everyone else know that I am forever grateful for caring about us and for their help. I know that their efforts were done in a personal matter on their own time and with their own funds. But when I see this, I see the work of a great team called Emergency Reporting. They represent you, and I want you to know that us little people, we see the greatness of a company through the greatness of their people.
Once again, THANK YOU for being there for us and THANK YOU for putting together such a great team.