Nuts and Bolts

It goes without saying that more than a few of you who are visiting this website for the first time may be somewhat skeptical. I surely would. Here’s this strange dude who never even lived in Puerto Rico purportedly trying to raise money so he can make his fellow Mainland Americans aware of the suffering and misery caused by an act of God. Preposterous! Okay, I’ll lay all my cards on the table. Face up.

I’m retired. Spent a good part of the last twenty years helping fine-tune the inner rumblings of a surly mainframe computer that handles all the transactions for a big bank in Puerto Rico. Got to know the folks down there. Really liked ’em. Made some really good friends. Naturally when Hurricane Maria hit I was concerned for their welfare. But it’s hard to keep caring when things go from bad to worse despite the best efforts of the folks in charge. At least according to the stories we read up here on the Mainland where we’re blessed with power and potable water and gas for the cars. And after a while you kind of lose track of the specifics until one of your old buddies calls up one wintry night and tells you some of the horror stories he’s suffered through and alludes to a government agency that made an honest attempt to help but was prevented from making any headway by what can only be called poor planning. And a government leader who praised the efforts of that selfsame agency, calling it one of the best responses to a natural disaster in the history of (pick one) mankind, America, this century. Pretending that a mere handful of lives were lost when the actual number was in the thousands. And that the work was pretty much wrapped up. Good job, boys. Let’s all go home and enjoy our families.

There’s something about all that bluster and prevarication that rankles the spirit of even the most cynical curmudgeon. So when Tony called I realized I’d be an ass if I didn’t at least try to smuggle some truth on board. Isn’t that what my generation promised back in the 60s? The Age of Aquarius? We were gonna change the world! And so I changed my mind. Got up off my duff and set out to make a difference.

It’s a steep hill to climb. Even if we get funding for the project there’s so much work to be done. And then there’s the very real problem of infrastructure (which is going to be the topic of another rant real soon but not right yet!) and doing battle with all the fake news out there. But like Don Quixote, I’m already astride my trusty steed. I’ve got my blunted lance aimed at a windmill named the Trumpster and I don’t know how to dismount without feeling downright ashamed.

Two technical disclosures you need to be aware of. Should you decide to press the Donate button for PayPal you’ll see that the donation goes to an entity called QuickSilver Enterprises. That’s a little LLC I set up a long time ago which was convenient to use because it already had a Federal Tax ID. Donations go into the QuickSilver account and get moved to two Schwab accounts set up specifically for this project. I’ll show you the paper trail if you ask. Second, honored members of this endeavor (hereinafter called Donors!) have special rights and privileges. It doesn’t matter whether you donate a dollar or a thousand. You all have the same standing in our eyes. You can upload your own pictures showing the wrath of Maria. You can see all our financial records should you wish. They’re boring but they’re available. Even when he was running for the highest office in the land the Trumpster wasn’t that transparent about his fiscal meanderings.

And finally, if you think I’m being a trifle arrogant, believing an old retired fart who’s offended by injustice can make a difference when so many problems remain to be solved, I’ll just say this. I’ve been to Puerto Rico. Mainland Puerto Ricans and local residents call Puerto Rico the Enchanted Island. I’d like to go back and bask in that enchantment again. We can do this thing. Together!

Welcome to our WebSite

More than a year after Hurricane Maria struck the island the brave American men and women who live in Puerto Rico have not yet fully recovered from the disaster. This website is a tool which we hope will help illuminate their plight, to praise the heroic efforts of individuals and private organizations who have risen to the challenge, to shed a light on the incompetence at every level of government intervention that followed the devastation and to refute their premature and entirely erroneous declaration of a successful conclusion to their woefully inadequate attempts to resolve the situation. We hope that by publicizing the misfortune we can get our fellow Americans in every walk of life involved in helping to rebuild this island paradise.

Nikki, Lyn, Tony and Russ aren’t handy with their hands. We’re plain folks who’ve been blessed with a creative streak. Our role in the relief effort, simply stated, is to keep the public eye focused on the progress of the recovery. In extreme cases of suffering it’s normal for the public to blank out the ongoing pain and suffering that accompanies a prolonged recovery. Puerto Rican recovery is underway, but it’ll take years to complete. We hope to make a difference, not by participating in the physical act of rebuilding homes and communities, but rather by keeping the American public aware of the ongoing needs of the Puerto Rican people during the recovery process. We hope to do this through the use of our technical talents, creative writing and photographic skills.

So what’s the plan? In addition to building and maintaining this website along with other Social Media apps, we’re planning to write two books to elevate awareness of the Puerto Rican Recovery situation in the minds of Mainland America. The first book is a novel comparing the federal government’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico to the federal government’s response to Hurricane Florence in North Carolina. Russ has published nine novels so far since retiring in 2000. Search ‘Russell Hatler’ at Amazon.com to check out his creds. He can do this thing. The second book will be a collection of photographs, captions and stories (English as well as Spanish) from six different areas in Puerto Rico, showing before, during and after photos of the natural disaster. Nikki’s no stranger to a Canon DSLR camera and she’s got the lenses to prove it. In order to write the books, we need to do the research. In order to do the research, we need funding. Here’s where you come in.

We hope to raise enough money to research, write, publish and distribute the books and give whatever’s left over to non-profit organizations who are actively involved in helping to rebuild the Puerto Rican infrastructure. We can do this through donations. If you donate $15 or more to the cause, we’ll send you one or more books. You can donate multiple times. Each donation increases the value of the premium you receive. $15-50 in total donations gets a novel. $50-125 gets a soft cover photograph book and a novel. $125+ gets a hard cover photograph book plus the soft cover photo book and the novel. If you want to help go to the GIFT tab on our homepage. Thanks for listening. Let’s get this thing done!

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