Following the devastation of the hurricane, Eastchester Senior Programs employee Maureen Casey worked tirelessly to help Garth Road Senior Center regular Sonia Tull track down her brother, Father Terry Tull, who was living in Puerto Rico when the storm struck.
After scouring the Internet for useful phone numbers or social media accounts, Casey was able to search the Red Cross Safe and Well page, but Father Tull was not registered. Casey then found him on Facebook and sent him a message, but there was no response. She also provided numerous phone numbers listed online for families to call and find their loved ones, but she said the lines were tied up for weeks.
For weeks, the two tried to find Father Tull before finally getting in touch with him, as he had been assisting others and filming a documentary with reporters from Germany documenting the destruction of different areas in the mountains.
Father Tull spent weeks attempting to make contact with his family. He eventually received information of a small area an hour north where there was a signal to make phone calls, allowing him to reach his sister. He made his way to New York late last month to reunite with his family.
“It was wonderful to see them reunited after seeing Sonia try desperately to get information pertaining to his safety in Puerto Rico during the weeks after Hurricane Maria destroyed (the country),” Casey said.
Tull offered to speak at the Senior Center, where he described some of his experiences during and after the hurricane. Following his presentation, the seniors donated more than $300 to Father Tull’s church, which had its doors blown off and suffered heavy damage to its roof during the storm.
“People were able to forgive each other and come together as one community on the countryside, where they have never spoken to each other,” he said. “Although they have lost material things, they are happy because they have their health, family, faith in God and their community.
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