Colorado veterans plan trip to help relief efforts in Puerto Rico

DENVER -- A group from Denver is on standby to head to Puerto Rico for almost a month to help with relief efforts from Hurricane Maria.

While the group knows each other because the organizers work in the cannabis industry, Puerto Rico is what brings them together.

“I definitely feel almost desperate to get out there,” David Serrano said.

Most of the group's organizers have family in Puerto Rico.

The Denver-based group took heartache and used it for something positive.

The movement is called RELEAF for Puerto Rico. If everything works out, 14 people will be on the ground in Puerto Rico in just a few days.

Most of the volunteers are from Colorado and they will be in Puerto Rico for 21 days.

“Our initiative is to clear those roads so that utility service and emergency services can get to the various power plants, get to the various victims that are in need of rescue,” Serrano said.

Half of the volunteers set to head down are veterans, just like Serrano.

“They’ve stepped up once in their life and they just don't know to step down from it," Serrano said.

Travel to Puerto Rico is limited so the group has to fly using extra space in cargo planes.

Serrano is from Puerto Rico, so the group will stay at his family's home and they'll work with local officials once they arrive.

“He set up vehicle transportation for us, so we’ll have a cargo van, a passenger van, and pickup truck,” Serrano said.

Ana Izquierdo has family in Puerto Rico. She will stay in Denver and work on administrative matters for the group.

“It’s about saving lives, and that’s it," Izquierdo said.

It's a mission they want to get started on, sooner rather than later.

With so many veterans going to Puerto Rico, the group is working all their pilot connections to see if a private plane can take them in the next few days.

If not, they'll wait for the free space on a cargo flight.

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