One By One: Helping Rebuild Puerto Rico

Mar 30, 2020, 5:54 PM | Updated: Apr 1, 2020, 6:20 pm

OGDEN, Utah – After Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico, everyone there was left wondering how long it would take the Island to recover. It’s been over 2½ years now and much of the repair work has been done. However, there are still plenty of people living under tarps or waiting to get back into their homes.

Several non-profit groups have been on the island to help with the recovery effort. One of the non-profit organizations is Halos and Hearts Foundation.

A group of friends from Northern Utah recently joined efforts with Halos and Hearts founder Ron Batt, to help rebuild the home of a grandmother who has been displaced since 2017.

Hal Van Meeteren, retired Ogden City Fire Battalion Chief, helped organize the group from Utah. He had previously been to Puerto Rico to help shortly after the storm hit.

“That experience changed my life forever,” he said. “It gave me a real appreciation for the blessings that I have and for the comforts that I enjoy in my own home with my own family and I wanted to return again.”

He reached out to several friends and family members to enlist their help.

“Being able to bring a couple members of my family along, and some friends, to experience what I was able to experience means the world to me,” said Van Meeteren.

Plains City Mayor Jon Beesley was one of the people who went along. He and his wife, Shelly, and their daughter were happy to be a part of the group.

“Providing service helps everyone. It brings humility and helps everyone grow,” Beesley said.

Van Meeteren’s sister, Jeanie Weicks, was also part of the group. It was her first experience on a humanitarian trip.

“These people down here… they need our help, but just as much as they need our help, we’ve been helped by them,” she said. “It’s been an awesome experience, just to learn to be grateful for what I have.”

The Utah group was representative of the many volunteers who have gone to Puerto Rico over the past couple years to help with the recovery efforts.

Saturday at noon, watch One By One on KSL TV or on the KSL TV app to see more of the work that is being done there.

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One By One: Helping Rebuild Puerto Rico