Veteran has not been able to speak to family in Puerto Rico due - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Veteran has not been able to speak to family in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)
(KXXV) -

A veteran who is a student part of the Auto Collision and Management Technology Program at Texas State Technical College is trying to keep informed about the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Jose Rodriguez who is working toward a certificate in Auto body Refinishing has family in the U.S. territory who has no power or cell phone service after the natural disaster. He spoke with his family on Thursday after the hurricane hit the island. However, he has not been able to speak to them ever since.

"I'm a little worried. I know they are good. They were prepared for it but we are used to have communications every day or at least once a week. I don't have that right now," Rodriguez said. "It's hard you can't support them at least talking to them on the phone."

TSTC Veteran Program Administrator Rachel Mims who is also a mental health counselor said veterans are encouraged to express their feelings to a counselor who will keep their information confidential. 

"They can know that they are not alone. The one good thing about counseling is that people learn they are not the only ones who feels that way. They are not the only ones who are worried. We can help them identify tools to work through the worry, steps to take to make them feel better," Mims said.

Mims said students can stop by the Office of Veteran Services Monday thru Friday at the Student Services Center. Mims can also be reached via email at ramims@tstc.edu.

Rodriguez who received a $2,000 national scholarship for members of the military and veterans is working through his worry at the auto paint lab. The 45-year-old is expected to graduate in December.

"I did a compromise here with the school. I have an obligation with the school to keep moving forward in order to support them in one way or another and that's what's keeping me moving forward," Rodriguez said.

He said the way of supporting them would be through encouraging words or sending them money to cover basic needs.

Currently, his family whose home did not flood, is working to clean up debris with neighbors until authorities can reach them.

Baylor University has seven students from Puerto Rico and eight from Mexico.

A Baylor spokeswoman said, after Hurricane Maria and the earthquake in Mexico, Baylor's Division of Student Life reached out to those students to offer prayers and assistance, which include counseling, spiritual and academic support or financial services.

In addition, she said the Center for Global Engagement offered support for our international students from Mexico to help them get connected with different offices on campus to request special services. 

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