America's Army Reserve provides Hurricane Maria relief support

By Sgt. Edgar Valdezdeleon | U.S. Army Reserve Command | Oct. 4, 2017

FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers have been providing meals for Soldiers supporting the ongoing Hurricane Maria relief efforts.

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from various units across Puerto Rico answered the call from Brig. Gen. Dustin Schultz and arrived at Fort Buchanan to support their local community in its time of need.

Master Sgt. Jose Mejias, the Officer in Charge of food service and a Culinary Specialist with the 166th Reginal Support Group, based out of Fort Buchanan, a resident of Gurabo, Puerto Rico, arrived at Fort Buchanan September 23, 2017 to take charge of food operations on base.

“We have a team of 28 cooks and 8 assistants that are working 12 hours a day in order to give the best service possible,” said Mejias.

Sgt. Juan Padilla, a Culinary Specialist with the 973rd Water Master Company based out of Ceiba, Puerto Rico and a resident of Corozal, arrived at Fort Buchanan September 25, 2017.

“I am very happy to be here in support of the Soldiers,” said Padilla.

Ensuring that the Soldiers have food is an important mission, many of the Soldiers working on Hurricane Maria relief efforts return to Fort Buchanan to eat. Soldiers who are unable to return still receive a warm meal which is delivered to their locations.

“We start working at 3 am and work until noon to make sure we take care of the great team that’s working to get Puerto Rico back to normal,” said Padilla.

In the case of Sgt. 1st Class Victor Carrasco a Culinary Specialist and member of the 973rd Water Master Company based out of Ceiba, Puerto Rico and a resident of Punta Santiago Humacao, Puerto Rico, the story was a little different.

He arrived at Fort Buchanan on September 19, 2017; just one day before Maria devastated the island. Carrasco was part of a team of five Soldiers that where are at Fort Buchanan during the Hurricane; providing meals at the community club.

“I feel great because, one I am doing what I like, and second, because I am helping the Soldiers that are helping to stabilize Puerto Rico,” said Carrasco.

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