The Atlas leadership team traveled to Puerto Rico two weeks ago to visit our frontline on the island and see for themselves the state of the recovery efforts. The team packed the plane full of commodities so drivers could deliver the supplies to communities they see every day on missions. Bob Kenyon, President and COO of Atlas Oil, was one member of the leadership team to travel to Puerto Rico. Bob agreed to a short interview about his experience on the island. The highlights can be found below.
Why did you decide to visit Puerto Rico?
First and foremost, we wanted to make sure we didn’t get in the way of any logistical or emergency missions, but there were really three primary reasons we went to Puerto Rico.
We knew the need for supplies and resources remains great on the island. We wanted to provide those supplies and resources to our response team and the communities they are serving.
We wanted to visit with our team and carrier partners to thank them for their dedication to the mission. Our frontline team has done a phenomenal job working with limited resources to provide mission critical organizations with fuel.
Lastly, internal and outbound communication on the island is limited. We wanted to assess the situation firsthand and assure that we have positioned ourselves for success for as long as it takes to support the recovery efforts.
How would you describe Atlas’ role in providing hurricane relief on the island?
We are providing mission critical fueling operations to the local communities - - hospitals, schools, pharmacy, government agencies, etc. Even a month later, 90% of the island is being powered by generators … and we are keeping the lights on!
What did you learn through this visit that surprised you?
It was astounding how challenged the infrastructure in Puerto Rico was prior to the hurricanes and how long it may take to restore the island to a so-called normal way of life. The terrain is a major challenge to the response efforts - - lots of mountainous and remote areas that need support. I was also amazed at the level of FEMA, DLA, and DOD support on the island!
In your experience, what is life like on the island for our drivers?
They are essentially living in camping-like conditions and have all the essentials they need for food, water, shelter, and security. The biggest challenges are traffic and communications.
What would you say to people looking to help the people of Puerto Rico?
There is a tremendous relief response effort underway with thousands of FEMA and military personnel and mission critical vendors working round the clock to provide life-saving support to the entire region. If you are willing and able to make donations, do your research on charities working on the island to make sure your donations are where they’re needed most. Atlas Oil donated to an organization called Direct Relief; however, there are several humanitarian aid organizations that are working hard to rebuild Puerto Rican communities. Lastly, pray for all the first responders for safety and success in their respective missions.