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News | Nov. 28, 2017

DCMA Hartford employees assemble hygiene kits for hurricane relief efforts

By Tonya Johnson DCMA Public Affairs

Defense Contract Management Agency Hartford employees helped residents in Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September. 

Employees assembled 72 personal hygiene kits as part of the hurricane relief efforts for distribution to residents by a chaplain and her missionary staff at Doctora Vega's Legacy in Puerto Rico. The kits were assembled during employees’ lunch breaks and other personal time. The kits were shipped to the missionary on Nov. 2 and were expected to be distributed to individuals starting on Nov. 17.

Loanny Martinez, who has family in Puerto Rico, came up with the idea and Susan Graham, a supervisory contract specialist, and her team volunteered their time to help assemble the kits. 

“There are folks here at DCMA whose families were affected and were not able to get in touch with them for several weeks after the disaster,” said Martinez, who is a management assistant at the contract management office. 

“Also, hearing from others and the media on how hard it was for the victims to get the necessary day-to-day items needed, we decided to come up with a different way to help out families in Puerto Rico by making hygiene kits and personally sending them to Chaplain Kelvia Flores and her mission down in Puerto Rico, where they will be delivering the kits to each door step. Our goal was to get at least 20 kits, however, we ended up assembling 72 kits,” added Martinez. 

Each kit contained one hand towel, one wash cloth, one toothbrush, one toothpaste, one nail clipper or nail file, one bar of soap, six bandages and one comb. 

“In times of need, as brothers and sisters, we need to help one another get back on our feet,” said Martinez. “Knowing that you are putting a smile on someone’s face — a child, a mother, a father or grandparent — is a blessing and greatly appreciated beyond measure. It is an amazing feeling to be a part of something greater than yourself and that is why it is important to help others. As the people of Puerto Rico say, ‘Puerto Rico se levanta,’ which means ‘Puerto Rico will rise again.’”