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The amazing way Chesterfield woman is helping hurricane victims in Puerto Rico

Posted at 7:16 PM, Oct 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-14 20:11:27-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A Chesterfield woman and Puerto Rican native is helping deliver much needed medical supplies after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island.

Belinda Pino nervously waited for days to hear word that her parents, Susana and Benny Rodriguez, survived the storm that hit the U.S. territory.

Thankfully, they lived and the family worked to get the couple off the island to Chesterfield.

"Five to eight times their flights were canceled until we were able to get a humanitarian flight from San Juan," Pino said.

More than three weeks after the storm Puerto Rico and 1,500 miles away, the Rodriguez could only watch the destruction on TV.

"The devastation is horrible everywhere we went and look," Susana remembered. "We feel bad because we are here, but our people are there. They’re stuck there and can’t get out."

Belinda Pino and her parents, Benny and Susana Rodriguez

Belinda Pino and her parents, Benny and Susana Rodriguez

Pino couldn't sit back and do nothing about the families that are still on the island suffering.

"Right now, because of a lack of water there’s a lot of bacteria in the island and people getting sick," Pino said. "Medication like antibiotics is really needed. There are a lot of diabetics like my mom. One of the main reasons I was really concerned was because she didn’t have the medication."

Some hospitals there are closing due to a lack of electricity and medications.

During the height of the storm, U.S. families created Facebook groups to help get in contact with loved ones on the island.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Through the help of the social media group and friends, Pino was put in contact with a Richmond businessman who owns a plane.

Pino found out that medications and medical supplies were sitting in Tampa, Florida waiting to be flown to Puerto Rico.

On Monday, a pilot will leave Richmond to meet up with doctors with "The Hope Bus" and BeeSmart Rx, who will load the plane with supplies to fly to the island for a second time.

"Once you’re a Puerto Rican, you’re always a Puerto Rican," Pino said.

Belinda Pino

Belinda Pino

But, officials are still struggling to repair power plants and infrastructure.

Pino encouraged Americans to donate to United for Puerto Rico, an initiative brought forth by the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló, and businesses to provide aid to the territory.

She credited the CEO and Founder of BeeSmart Rx, Dr. Hector Crespo, with helping organize the efforts.