September 20, 2018
In 2017, after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, 299 City employees from 17 agencies were sent to provide on-the-ground support, including 66 Emergency Management personnel. New Yorkers sent donation to 24 firehouses and EMS stations across 5 boroughs, resulting in 1637 containers of donations collected. One year after Hurricane Maria’s devastation, on the anniversary of when the hurricane made landfall on Puerto Rico, the Mayor and First Lady welcomed First Responders and their guests to Gracie Mansion to reflect on their hard work and on what more needs to be done in Puerto Rico.
Recognizing the work of the first responders, First Lady Chirlane McCray noted at the event, “A first responder’s work is never done. Tonight we say: thank you.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio also commented, “I want to honor you and thank you. You saved lives, you cleared debris, you made it possible for people to go back to their buildings. You searched for survivors and got them to safety. You brought food and water and medicine to devastated communities.”
First Lady Chirlane McCray also recognized the emotional toll that responding to disasters can have, noting, “We value you, your families need you. Take care of yourselves.” First Lady McCray also noted that through the NYCWell program, first responders (and all New Yorkers) have access to free counseling 24/7. Learn more about the NYCWell program here.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also reinforced New York City’s commitment to stand with Puerto Rico, noting, “It was not an option to look away… For New York City, it was not an option to ignore the people of Puerto Rico, it was our job to be there for the people of Puerto Rico… Within 3 days… New York City was there. And New York City stayed there. And we will always be there when the people of Puerto Rico need us.”
Music for the evening was provided by La Jara, a band comprising of members of the NYPD Hispanic Society. The band plays merengue, salsa, bachata, tipico, freestyle, and cumbia.
Video description: Watch the livestream of the remarks from the First Responders for Hurricane Maria Reception.
We would like to acknowledge and thank our sponsors for their generous support of the First Responders for Hurricane Maria Reception: