Lincoln Co man one of millions desperate to connect with family in Puerto Rico

Lincoln Co man one of millions desperate to connect with family in Puerto Rico
(Photo courtesy family)
(Photo courtesy family)
(Steve Ohnesorge | WBTV)
(Steve Ohnesorge | WBTV)

DENVER, NC (WBTV) - A local man is trying everything to get in touch with his parents, who live in Puerto Rico. He says he has not heard from them since last week, before Hurricane Maria hit the island.

Video from crews on the ground in Puerto Rico shows Maria survivors making desperate satellite calls to loved ones. In Denver, North Carolina, all Pete Alvarez wants is to be on the other end of one of those calls.

"Even if I got a phone call that just says 'I'm OK' and then the line stops, I'd be happy with that," he says. "But I don't have anything."

The last time Alvarez spoke with his parents was before the storm hit.

"We knew it was going to be bad," he says.

His parents are in their eighties. One suffers from Alzheimer's and the other is a wounded veteran. Alvarez knows they are likely two of millions cut off from the outside world after the storm swept across the island.

"You're anxious because you hope and pray that they're OK," he says. "But you just don't know."

Most of the cell towers across the island are reportedly still down. Alvarez says he cannot get through using cell or even land lines to his parents, or his aunt who lives nearby.

"I try several times a day, to the both of them," he says. "But I haven't been able to reach them."

They live in San German, a small town in the southwest corner of the island. Images from all across the island have furthered concern for Alvarez and his family.

"They show images of certain parts of the town, you know they live near that part of town, it looks like it's been wiped out," he explains.

But he is keeping hopeful, as are so many like him, worried about loved ones a thousand miles away.

"I'm going to keep trying every day," he says.

He is also grateful for the support he has felt back in North Carolina.

"I'm gratified to know that people are keeping all Puerto Ricans in their thoughts and prayers," he says.

As a bit of good news, Alvarez says he did get a text message yesterday from an uncle who lives in San Juan. However, that is too far across rubble and flood waters to go check on his parents. Alvarez has started looking at what options he has to try to travel to the island himself.

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