HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Madison County resident Rosa Toussaint-Ortiz moved to Puerto Rico at 7-years-old, and she lived there "All the way until I was 18, then I joined the military. That's when I came to the United States," Toussaint-Ortiz explained.
It's a special island to her. "There was a time I pretended to be somebody from Puerto Rico, because I didn't have the papers. Puerto Ricans they received me with love. These are hardworking people, they are loving people. My heart is very sad for what is happening in Puerto Rico. I just pray for them," Toussaint-Ortiz said.
She`s also sending prayers up for her sister. "She is 70-years-old, lives by herself, and she`s sick. I haven`t heard from her since Irma and at that time she didn`t have electricity," Toussaint-Ortiz said.
Toussaint-Ortiz doesn`t know where her sister is at or how she is doing. If she could she would say to her, "I love you, that I thank God everything is well, which I believe she is fine," Toussaint-Ortiz said.
She said the entire island needs help, and it looks as though people are coming to provide aid now. "You have to remember the people that live in the metropolitan area, it`s a little bit easier for them. For those that live in the mountains, it`s very hard for someone to reach them," Toussaint-Ortiz explained.
Her faith is keeping her strong. "Just remember Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, a lot of people did not know that," Toussaint-Ortiz said.
She`s hoping people step up and really help out those effected by Hurricane Maria`s wrath. She is also the founder and president of the Huntsville International Help Center Inc (Centro de Ayuda Ministry). They are taking donations to help a church and community members in Puerto Rico.
She's wanting to take few people from Huntsville to serve on the island on behalf of the city. They are planning to go serve sometime in January.
If you would like to donate items they can be sent to P.O. Box 1843 Huntsville, AL, 35807. She said they will provide a letter to receive tax deductions from the IRS to those that ask.