Grants Pass, Ore.– Tad Edie was one of the lucky ones.
“I was actually kindly naively excited for the whole event.”
Only after the storm had passed did Edie realize how dangerous his situation was. When he emerged from the storm, unharmed, he saw the overwhelming devastation that consumed the island.
“Well that was like…like… like going back in time. That was what that was like.”
With no electricity, no available transportation or communication to his family, Edie survived for about a month with limited resources. But he says his situation was a lot better than most other people.
“There are a lot of people who are stuck with the circumstances or they can’t leave if they wanted to,” said Edie. “They’re stuck in the same lines and just dependent on the supplies that are there and along for the ride.”
For Edie, the response effort by the U.S. was not enough. While there were necessary items brought to the island to help the people survive, he felt a lot of money was being wasted on other things that weren’t really necessary.
“What we really needed more than just people, were skilled people, builders and people who could’ve worked on the infrastructure,” said Edie. “That seems to be taking a long time to get back up and running.”
In the end, Edie was lucky to make contact his with his mom in Josephine County, and book a flight off the island. However he’s still frustrated with the emergency response.
“It’s something that’s happening to American citizens right now,” said Edie. “If it were to happen in Oregon or any other state and the situation was that bad I feel like there would be more push to fix the situation.”
Edie acknowledges the experience has left him shaken but not enough to shake the love and compassion he has for the island. He worries about his friends there and how they are doing and he worries for those in the community that through this disaster, have remained strong and vigilant, even in the face of hopelessness. With that, Tad Edie plans to return to Puerto Rico. As soon as he’s ready.
NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.