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Lehi resident organizes help for ‘devastated’ hometown Acapulco

Nov 10, 2023, 5:50 PM | Updated: 5:57 pm

LEHI — Sergio Martinez knows it would be easier to just do nothing, especially being 2200 miles away. But he couldn’t focus on anything else.

“It is completely devastated,” said Martinez, a Lehi resident, of his hometown, Acapulco, Mexico.

When he saw the devastation left behind from Hurricane Otis two weeks ago, he knew had to do something.

“The infrastructure is broken. Streets are closed because of mudslides. Boats that used to be along the beach are now in the streets. The water is completely contaminated by debris and by mud,” said Martinez.

At least 48 people were killed in the storm and more than 30 people are still missing.

It took a week before he heard from his family because communications and electricity were knocked out from the storm.

“It was not until I asked some of my cousins who live 80 miles away to go over into the town and find them,” he said. “I gave them the address and they went over to see and they said this neighborhood doesn’t exist anymore. This other neighborhood is just devastated.”

Martinez’s father’s house is gone, but he is alive after leaving the area. He now lives with his other son.

With the amount of devastation in the area, though, recovery is going to take months, if not years.

“It will take a long time,” said Martinez.

Sergio Martinez (Stuart Johnson, KSL TV)

For an area that relies so much on tourism, Hurricane Otis was also a financial disaster.

“The infrastructure for tourism does not exist there anymore. The hotels used to be hotels. There are no windows. There is nothing in there. Cars were tossed into the lobbies of the hotels,” he said.

Martinez says he understands there is a lot going on in the world right now with Ukraine, Israel, elections in the United States, and other emergencies, but he’s hoping this part of Mexico isn’t forgotten.

“There are plenty of challenges around the world, but I want to make sure we bring awareness to this one in Acapulco because it is close to my heart,” he said.

Martinez, who works in real estate, served on the Hispanic Advisory Council to Utah governors Jon Huntsman and Gary Herbert.

He is hoping to use his connections to raise money for food, water, clothing, medical supplies, power banks for electronics, hygiene kits, and other items.

His goal is to help those who are helping others. There are a lot of organizations helping people in Acapulco, but Martinez feels so much more is needed.

“This devastation is beyond the ability of any organization” he said. “The way to strengthen the spirit of those that are trying to help, it is by us helping them.”

Martinez has started a GoFundMe page to try and raise money to help. He is also planning a trip to Acapulco as soon as possible to help in any way that he can.

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Lehi resident organizes help for ‘devastated’ hometown Acapulco