Board of Trustee’s Freeman, McPhee, Davis launch effort to provide assistance
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – It was that one moment Wednesday, when Luz Cortes hugged her son, Raymond Cintron, when the reason for Raider Relief was clear.
“That moment was when we realized what we did — all the fundraising, the donations, the flight here — was helping Raymond’s family survive,” said Darrell Freeman, vice chairman of Middle Tennessee State University’s Board of Trustees and an MTSU alumnus.
“And they were so very happy, so very grateful, for our True Blue family."
Raider Relief, launched earlier this month by Freeman, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and men’s basketball coach Kermit Davis, raised money and supplies for Cintron’s family.
Cintron, a star guard for the Blue Raiders in 2011-13, has been displaced to the Orlando area from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that devastated Puerto Rico in September.
His family remains on the island and they were in dire need of medicine, food and generators, all of which was stuffed into Freeman’s aircraft.
On Wednesday, with the help of the Puerto Rico Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, MTSU’s partner with its Department of Aerospace, Cintron’s family got the aid they desperately needed. Freeman flew Cintron, McPhee, Vice President Andrew Oppmann and university pilot Terry Dorris, who served as co-pilot, on the seven-hour journey.
“It means everything to me,” Cintron said. “This is something very, very special. This will remain in our hearts for the rest of our lives.”
The MTSU group flew back to Murfreesboro Thursday. McPhee credited the Civil Air Patrol volunteers for making the final stages of Raider Relief possible. The Civil Air Patron, or CAP, is the volunteer civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force.
“Our CAP partners overcame an island-wide power outage to assemble here, with volunteers and trucks, and get this aid to Raymond’s family,” McPhee said. “Without Trustee Freeman’s plane and the Civil Air Patrol, none of this would have happened.”
Col. Carlos Fernandez, commander of CAP’s Puerto Rico Wing, said his volunteers were happy to assist with Raider Relief.
“We’re in the business of helping people,” he said. “This is what we do.”