Last week a United 777-300ER filled with more than 300 first responders and skilled workers headed from Newark to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The flight was packed with medical supplies, food, and water. More importantly, the 300 passengers onboard represented volunteers from a large occupational variety that dropped everything to help, some planning to spend two weeks to aid in the rebuilding effort.
United produced a short video about its relief flight–
A bit emotional, isn’t it? To see friends and loved ones re-unite is always heartwarming.
— Bob Karp (@BobKarpDR) October 6, 2017
The most beautiful part of this mission so far was that no one even hesitated when they were asked to volunteer. Everyone responded within seconds saying ‘we’re in.’ Nobody was concerned about what the job would be or the conditions. No questions asked, we were all just ready to go help.
More than a PR Stunt
Cynical me cannot help but to note how United stresses that it brought union labor along, but even if that is a little self-serving, let’s not dismiss how much each charity flight impacts people on the ground (and people trying to leave).
With the power grid rendered essentially useless and vital supplies in short supply, the provisions on this aircraft helped many in desperate need.
The question is never can Puerto Rico be rebuilt, right? It’s just a matter of how to allocate scarce resources. While government funding will eventually flow quicker and more efficiently than it has now, at least this team of 300 is able to make an immediate impact.
Puerto Rico is going to need a lot more than a handful of relief flights to rebuild, but progress is made one step at a time, here one flight at a time…
United has already flown 12 relief flights and plans more in the days ahead. If you care to donate to relief efforts, click here.