Family of El Faro crewmember delivers relief supplies to Puerto Rico


The following is text of a news release from TOTE:

(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) — For three days in December, Deb and Robin Roberts visited Puerto Rico to distribute more than 30,390 pounds of food, water, personal hygiene supplies and other key goods to those most impacted by Hurricane Maria.

During this time, the Roberts visited Hogar Casa Feliz in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, an elderly home on the island as well as the community of Loiza, Puerto Rico to distribute goods. The remainder of the items will be provided to communities in need in conjunction with Para la Naturaleza and their ongoing relief and recovery efforts over the month of January.

In November 2017, Deb and Robin Roberts of Wilton, Maine began a drive for relief goods in honor of their son, Michael Holland. Holland was one of 33 crewmembers who perished when the cargo ship El Faro sank in Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015.

Holland spent significant time in Puerto Rico as El Faro was dedicated to the Puerto Rico trade lane. The Roberts felt called to support the people and communities who played such an integral role in their son’s life.

“It was truly a rewarding experience to be able to help the people of Puerto Rico in memory of our son, Michael,” said Deb and Robin Roberts. “We are so grateful to everyone at TOTE for helping us to make the drive a success. Without their efforts and support, we never would've been able to make it happen.

"Upon our arrival in Puerto Rico, we were amazed at the sharp contrast between the sheer beauty of the island in areas like San Juan and the utter destruction in areas like Loiza caused by Hurricane Maria. Yet during our supplies delivery, the people of Loiza taught us a lesson in how to deal with adversity. Despite being without power for over three months, they were all smiling and even broke out in song and dance while they awaited the arrival of the delivery truck. The people of Puerto Rico truly love their island just like Michael did.”  

TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico was honored to support the Roberts with their transportation and distribution efforts. Executives from all the TOTE divisions participated in the distribution efforts including Anthony Chiarello, president and CEO of TOTE; Mike Holt, senior vice president and general counsel for TOTE; Phil Greene Jr., president of TOTE Services; and Tim Nolan, president of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico.

“Partnering with the Roberts to bring goods to the island has been a gift,” Chiarello said. “There are still so many families and communities struggling to survive after Hurricane Maria – these goods will be invaluable to people throughout the island.”

By Professional Mariner Staff