As a disaster approaches, such as a hurricane or wildfire, there is a chaotic world that envelopes responders. Torn between family and duty, the brave head out into the wind, the rain, the heat, the flames… into the very heart of the threat.
As the disaster strikes, these heroes rely on their training while struggling to not get caught up in a frantic effort to just survive.
Once the threat has passed, we enter into the world of real response and recovery where responders enter into the pain of others; the victims that are helpless and relying on them to come with their equipment, expertise and technology.
Eventually, these same responders begin to make the transition back into normality, or at least something that resembles their life as they continue to answer calls, only now, as residents, they have to recover as well.
It is here that the story can change case by case, sometimes ending well, sometimes…just ending.
For those that struggle through saving their community and rebuilding their own personal lives, we create missions that become the focus of The Life In The Arena Foundation. For the others, there is not much we can do but remember them from time to time, drawing attention to their sacrifices, to their community’s loss and to their family’s grief. After the loss of a hero, we grieve as a community for a time, but here at LITA, we believe that every so often, we should go back and revisit their lives and what they meant to all of us. By going back, by remembering, we honor them over and over.
As we prepare to send a team to Puerto Rico, we want to remember two officers that stepped into eternity amidst the pandemonium of PR’s recovery efforts.
Two Puerto Rico police officers died after their patrol vehicles became trapped in Hurricane Maria’s floodwaters. Agents Angel Lorenzo-Gonzalez and Hector Matias-Torres were completing a 24-hour shift on September 21st as a part of hurricane response and rescue efforts.
As they were attempting to return to the police station, their patrol vehicles became trapped in the high waters. Their cars were washed into the Culebrinas River where officials recovered their bodies the next day.
Lorenzo-Gonzalez served 21 years with the Puerto Rico Police Department. Matias-Torres served 22 years with the department.
Officers, we remember you.