Puerto Rico Project: Solar-Powered Emergency Communications
After Hurricane Maria, two Native American friends Heather Dawn Thompson (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe) of 7Generations-Native Indoor Farms (www.7generations.net) and Eugene Wilkie (Turtle Mountain Tribe) of Now! Solar (www.nowsolar.co) were frustrated with the slow rate of government assistance being provided to the people of Puerto Rico.
A significant problem they noted was the difficulty police, emergency responders, and citizens were having communicating due to lack of electricity – a problem they experience in their own isolated communities on Native American Indian Reservations. Heather and Eugene called Sun Charge Systems (www.sunchargesystems.com) for help with a solution.
A plan was hatched to buy as many solar-powered emergency communication recharging stations as the team could raise money to purchase, and head to Puerto Rico to install them.
They joined forces with Raycen Raines (Oglala Sioux Tribe) of the Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation’s Solar subsidiary (WLCC Solar/Cloud 9) ( www.facebook.com/wakpamnilake ); local Puerto Rican solar partner Omar Zayas (Taino heritage) of Solair Energy PR (www.solairenergypr.com); and Heather’s Harvard Law school classmate Tara Dawood of Dawood Global Foundation from Pakistan (www.dawoodglobal.org) for global fundraising outreach and fiscal oversight of the project.
Together we raised approximately $30,000 from over 32 countries! Thank you to all the donors from Indian Country, Pakistan, and nation-wide! We purchased 18 units and headed (albeit later than we had hoped) to Puerto Rico!
Once in Puerto Rico, Allied Logistics PR (www.alliedpr.com), Alberto Cruz and Carlos Alvarez, donated invaluable and secure storage space for the solar stations, and Naguabo’s Director of Emergency Management, Jerry Kirkland (www.facebook.com/pg/amigosconotroflow), coordinated with the local emergency management directors.
From Monday October 29 to Saturday November 3, 2018, the all-volunteer team lead by professional solar installers Lisa Jensen (Now!Solar) and Omar Zayas (Solair Energy PR) installed 18 solar-powered emergency communication recharging stations throughout some of the hardest hit and most isolated communities in Puerto Rico, both on the coast and in the mountains.
Emergency communication units were installed in the municipalities of Aibonito, Barranquitas, Cidra, Cieba, Comerio, Fajardo, Gurabo. Humacao, Las Piedras, Maunubo, Morovis, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, San Lorenzo, and Yabucoa.
Additional information on the project, the solar-powered emergency communication recharging stations, and information for the communities which received the stations will be posted in a few weeks on the www.solairenergypr.com website.
Special thanks to:
· All the donors from 32 countries
· The municipalities of Aibonito, Barranquitas, Cidra, Cieba, Comerio, Fajardo, Gurabo. Humacao, Las Piedras, Maunubo, Morovis, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, San Lorenzo, and Yabucoa
· Alberto Cruz & Carlos Alvarez – Allied Logistics PR – www.alliedpr.com
· Donny Ray – Sun Charge System – www.sunchargesystems.com
· Eugene Wilkie & Lisa Jensen – Now!Solar – www.nowsolar.co
· Heather Dawn Thompson – 7Generations-Native Indoor Farms – www.7generations.net
· Jerry Kirkland –OMME Naguabo – www.facebook.com/pg/amigosconotroflow
· Omar Zayas & Luis Carrasquillo – Solair Energy PR – www.solairenergypr.com
· Raycen Raines –WLCC Solar/Cloud9 – www.facebook.com/wakpamnilake
· Tara Dawood – Dawood Global Foundation – www.dawoodglobal.org