Roosevelt Islanders, All Ages, Pitch In for Puerto Rico

David Stone

From pitching in as New York City Community Emergency Response Teams loaded donated goods for delivery to Puerto Rico to school kids firing up the only amateur radio club in a City school, Roosevelt Islanders have been active in relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria's historic destruction.

Warehouse full of goods ready to be set up for transport to Puerto Rico.
Warehouse full of goods ready to be set up for transport to Puerto Rico.
Photo courtesy of Frank Farance

Our reader Sylvan Klein spotted an article in dna info's local online newspaper. Never expecting to be needed to help out in an emergency so soon, the Garden School in Jackson Heights established an amateur radio club, just last year.

A number of Roosevelt Island kids bus to the Garden School daily.

"The station — known by its call sign, K2GSG — is taking messages known as 'radiograms' to send down to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, which has been mostly without power since Hurricane Maria struck the island," reports Katie Honan.

The nearly forgotten style of communication came into play when ham radio operators in Puerto Rico played crucial roles in helping first responders coordinate after all power went out.

Expecting the initiative to expand as systems for communication become better established, the school is now relaying radiograms from anyone who contacts them at their email address (k2gsg@gardenschool.org) that will eventually reach destinations in Puerto Rico.

 

NYC CERT Extends Its Reach To Puerto Rico

Gwen Ryals assists in packing up donations.
Gwen Ryals assists in packing up donations.
Photo courtesy of Frank Farance

On Friday, Roosevelt Island CERT members Frank Farance and Gwen Ryals joined other volunteers as they sorted, loaded, and palletized hundreds of thousands of donations for Puerto Rico.

Farance describes "The Big Picture:"

  • Donations are collected around New York City at designated points.
  • Trucks pick up the crates and bring them to a large warehouse.
  • Workers unload the crates, unpack the contents and their packages, then sort the items.
  • Sorted items are transferred to a pallet, counted, packed, and shrink-wrapped.
  • Pallets go out to the airport. Some items, such as batteries, need to go by sea.
Farance coordinates with a small unit.
Farance coordinates with a small unit.
Photo courtesy of Frank Farance

"Many New Yorkers have prepared their own individual donations in a plastic bag, e.g., diapers, dry baby formula, batteries. Other items, include personal hygiene (toothbrush), feminine products, first-aid kits, and medical items (peroxide and alcohol)," Farance told The Daily in an email. "Although we don't know the donors, when opening a bag: it's obvious that many many New Yorkers have given much thought, Hope, and care in their donations. Such as strong message of Hope!"

Relief supplies palleted and shrink wrapped for shipment.
Relief supplies palleted and shrink wrapped for shipment.
Photo courtesy of Frank Farance

 

Teams of volunteers from around New York City load goods onto trucks heading to the airport.
Teams of volunteers from around New York City load goods onto trucks heading to the airport.
Photo courtesy of Frank Farance

 

Mission accomplished.
Mission accomplished.
Photo courtesy of Frank Farance

 

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