Power Without Power
It has been almost one year since the passing of Hurricane Maria, and some families in Puerto Rico are still without electricity. Utuado, where young athlete Adriana Diaz is from, still lacks electricity in certain areas. But even with a lack of power in her hometown, Adriana remained powerful at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games and left with a clean sweep and four gold medals in table tennis.
Similarly, Andrea Maldonado, a young gymnast from Toa Baja, faced hardships on her journey to Barranquilla. Andrea couldn't practice for quite some time due to damage caused by Hurricane Maria to her gym, and at times, she felt like she would not be able to qualify for the Games. With hard work and dedication, Andrea left Colombia with a silver medal in the women's 'all-around,' a first for Puerto Rico.
I have never been a huge sports fan and have never really followed sports closely, but the athletes of Puerto Rico, specifically those who just competed in Barranquilla, really inspire me. I had the honor of watching some of these athletes firsthand while in Colombia and it's something I will not soon forget. The sense of pride they have for Puerto Rico is remarkable, and their persistence even more so.
I am proud to know people who are always willing to offer a helping hand.
The journey to success for these athletes most certainly isn't easy, but their desire to make Puerto Rico proud provides their inspiration. Success stories like Adriana's and Andrea's, and others who competed in Barranquilla, make me proud to call Puerto Rico my home. To me, the resiliency of these athletes mirrors the resiliency of the island and her people over the last 11 months. With every loss and every setback, these athletes get right back up and continue fighting for their country. The people of Puerto Rico have also continued fighting and continued showing up every day to make a difference.
As the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria approaches, I have taken some time to reflect on what makes me proud to live in Puerto Rico, here it is:
I am proud to know people who are always willing to offer a helping hand. I am proud to be surrounded by people who have so much pride for their island. I am proud to be encouraged by people who never give up, no matter how much adversity they face. And I am proud to know that even though many from the outside see problems, the people of Puerto Rico see opportunity.
What makes you proud to be a Puerto Rican? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
*Mark E. Curry is a leading entrepreneur, philanthropist and impact investor. Curry founded SOL Partners in Puerto Rico in 2012, and in January 2017 completed acquisition of NotiCel. As Chair of the Mark E. Curry Family Foundation, he invests in critical community charitable organizations.