Waterbury man hitting the road to get help to Puerto Rico

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Stuart Hirsch has been travelling  a lot lately — but none of the trips has been a vacation.

In the last few weeks, he’s gone to Texas to volunteer to help victims of Hurricane Harvey and he’s gone to Florida to volunteer help during Hurricane Irma. Today, he’s leaving to make sure thousands of people in Puerto Rico get help.

“We can’t sit by idly while our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico are suffering like this,” Stuart said.

Stuart is the Director of Emergency Operations at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury.

Related: Connecticut firefighters offer a helping hand to Texas

He also started two non-profit groups — Operation Endeavor and Wings of Michael. With Operation Endeavor, he helped rescue crews search for people in the flood waters in Houston during Hurricane Harvey.

“They were tired, but it was good to be with them and say hey we’re here to be with you, be present with you,” he said.

They were also the first crews in many of the hardest hit areas in Florida during Hurricane Irma to let emergency crews know where they needed to send in help. His team from Operation Endeavor is made up of people from emergency response backgrounds — military, medical, law enforcement.

And today, he and his group from his other non-profit, “Wings of Michael”, will make sure Puerto Rico is not forgotten. Thanks in part to funding from St. Mary’s charitable foundation, Stuart will head back to Florida and buy enough food there to feed 7,000 people still suffering in Puerto Rico. Stuart also secured help from the Publix grocery store chain. Stuart will help to load all that food onto a small plane that will get it to Puerto Rico.

Related: Waterbury hospital worker heading to Houston to help aid rescuers

Stuart, himself, will head there next week.

By the way, he’s also keeping his eye on the new tropical system that’s forecast to hit the Gulf Coast region of the U.S. this weekend. If it hits the areas around Houston where he pitched in to help during Hurricane Harvey, Stuart says he’ll pack up again and head out there to help again.

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