“Orgulloso” to be a part of the Dow team

Despite the warnings, despite the precautions, it hit us and it hit us hard! Harder than any hurricane has hit our Island.

Imagine yourself living in a tropical paradise in the Caribbean your whole life. You get use to hurricane season. Weather systems coming and going every year. You get warnings but none of them touch your precious little Island in almost a century. Sure, we had two hurricanes in the 80s and 90s called Hugo and Georges with recorded winds of 80 miles per hour (mph). These two were nothing compared to Hurricane María that had sustained winds of 150 mph and gusts of 175 mph. You can imagine the catastrophic devastation we had. There was so much flooding. Telephone and energy poles tumbled one after the other. Whole houses blown by the wind, families left without food, potable water, communications, and the whole Island without electricity.

No hope, you will say. Not for Puerto Ricans! We are built tough, we are resilient and we always think there is always a way to go forward. The extreme winds blew away our houses but not our spirits, the cyclonic tides wash away our homes but not our souls, and our hopes were left intact after seeing the rapid response from the Dow family.

The first wave of help came in form of coworkers. The warm embrace that we received by phone was translated into various sets of heartfelt hugs when we greeted our mainland United States colleagues at the airport. Some of them brought tears to a lot of us. The intense and close collaboration makes us locals feel part of a big family, not that we didn’t know we were one but now we have seen that family in action.

The second wave came in form of much needed supplies. Every Dow AgroSciences full time, temporary, or contracted employee received much-needed supplies. That took us by surprise, we are not used to seeing that kind of help in these types of emergencies.

Again, it brought tears to a lot of us. Do not misunderstand, we are maybe hurt but not broken. We may seem happy, because we always are, on the outside but on the inside this has been a huge blow to our inner self.

Gracias to the Dow Senior Leadership Team, David Dysart, Cynthia Ernst, Ashten Dickey, Robyn Heine, Jorge Cerame, Elisha Modisett Kemp, Jon Stambro, Don Blackburn, Klaus Koehler, and the entire Crisis Management Steering Team (CMST). Gracias to all our Dow coworkers that have donated funds to support Hurricane Maria relief efforts. Excuse me if I missed someone but there were so many people involved that it is a daunting task just to keep up with names. All of you are our family, all of you are honorary Puerto Ricans. You have taught us that the word family is much more than having the same last name, it is people dedicated to what they do, it is people dedicated to bringing solutions to a growing world, solutions to people who need it fast. We are eternally grateful All of us in Puerto Rico are “Orgulloso” to be a part of the Dow Team!

 - Luis Colon is the Community Outreach Manager for Dow AgroSciences in Puerto Rico

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 Employees sharing a meal at our site
 Some of the supplies provided to employees
 Supplies being distributed to employees