Clarksville officer helping Puerto Rican families reconnect afte - WSMV News 4

Clarksville officer helping Puerto Rican families reconnect after Hurricane Maria

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Dr. Martinez with the satellite phones he's taking to Puerto Rico. (Courtesy: Clarksville Police) Dr. Martinez with the satellite phones he's taking to Puerto Rico. (Courtesy: Clarksville Police)
CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Weeks after Hurricane Maria's devastating storms blew across the island of Puerto Rico, thousands in remote areas of the island are still without power or a way to communicate with family to let them know they are safe. 

When it took five days for Clarksville Police's chaplain, Dr. Modesto Martinez, to reach his family after the storm, he knew he had to to do something for others lacking viable communication. 

"I'm not thinking of taking food or water or anything like that because that's been taken care of by FEMA and other organizations," Martinez said. "I know it's not a big help that I'm bringing, but if we can reach a few families, that would be okay."

Dr. Martinez was born in Chicago, but returned to Puerto Rico as a child and lived there until he was 15. He returned to the States as a teenager and again when he served in the military for 27 years. Now, he's a local pastor and chaplain for the Clarksville Police Department. 

Martinez says he wants others to experience the same peace of mind he felt when he finally found out that his family was safe. 

"At least I'm not back home, watching tv and praying and not doing anything -- I mean, I will keep watching and praying, but also doing something about it," Martinez explained. 

Modesto reached out to Clarksville Police Department where he works, as well as churches and the community to raise funds for four satellite phones that he will personally take to Puerto Rico on Oct. 10 in the hopes of finding people in remote areas that haven't been able to touch base with their loved ones around the world. 

"Those machines aren't cheap, they're expensive, about a dollar a minute," Martinez said, "I just spent about $3400 to acquire these phones and pay, but with situations like this, it's not about money -- it's about being able to reach out and make a difference."

Through donations and the use of his own personal funds, four satellite phones were purchased.  Each phone has 100 minutes of airtime, plus additional minutes were purchased, raising the money expended to about $3,400. 

"Just understand that when I come back, those phones are staying there," he explained. "My main thing now is to keep raising funds to pay those minutes...that will be my next mission after I come back."

Martinez set up a GoFundMe account where people can continue to donate money to pay for more minutes on the phones, as well as receive updates on his trip. 

To find out more or donate, click here

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