Troy man heads to Puerto Rico to help hurricane-ravaged island rebuild

February 17, 2018 11:42 PM

ALBANY – Months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is still reeling.

“Imagine being in 85-90 degree humid weather with no clean water and no food and no power,” said Zac Bonesteel.

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Bonesteel, who owns Bonesteel Renovations, will spend the next ten days there.

“I've done construction for about 20 years,” Bonesteel said. “Mostly high end interior remodeling.” 

Those skills will come in handy as Bonesteel volunteers with All Hands and Hearts Smart Response on the hurricane-ravaged island.

“A lot of the mainland US got a lot of help and still is getting a lot of help but Puerto Rico seems to have kind of fallen by the wayside,” Bonesteel said.

The nonprofit helps places that have been stricken by natural disasters, including Puerto Rico, rebuild homes and other community infrastructure. 

“Rebuilding damaged homes, anything they need me to really,” Bonesteel said. 

“The more help they can get to get their lives back on track,” said Bonesteel’s wife, Cara Bonesteel. 

Ten days is a long time for Bonesteel to be away from her and their three-year-old son Galt. 

Luckily, they understand. 

“I'm very proud of him because I would hate to see not only like adults going through stuff like this but it's got to be so much scarier for the younger ones,” Cara Bonesteel said.  

All hands and Hearts CEO, Erik Dyson, said Bonesteel will be volunteering with a group of about 60 other volunteers in the town of Yabucoa, which is near the area Maria made landfall last September. 

“It's shocking that we're almost six months past the disaster and this still feels very much like it’s in the first few weeks after a disaster. 

Bonesteel knows what it's like to need a helping hand. 

He has been sober for nine years thanks to the people who've helped him.

“I went to St. Mary's and quit drinking,” Bonesteel said. “My wife helped me out a lot.” 

A GoFundMe fundraiser is paying for Bonesteel's trip.
This will not be his first to Puerto Rico, however it will likely be his hardest. 

“I was told its cold bucket showers, Bonesteel said. “That's going to be fun.”

And well worth the sacrifice. 

“Because there's a lot of people in need that are hurting there,” Bonesteel said. 

Bonesteel has met most of his GoFundMe fundraising goal to pay for his trip to Puerto Rico. 

Any additional money raised through the page would go to all hands and hearts. 

Bonesteel leaves February 18th and returns on February 28th.



Nia Hamm

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