CLEARWATER, Fla., Sept. 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This week, six Clearwater Scientologists who are members of the Scientology Volunteer Ministers (VMs) Disaster Response team travelled to Puerto Rico to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria relief efforts.  The VMs found Puerto Ricans waiting in line for 10 hours for food and gas and 3,000 people waiting outside banks which have just reopened. There is complete power outage on the streets, phone services have not been restored and Puerto Rico airports have not yet reopened to commercial flights.

Volunteer Minister Kirstie Clements said, “There is so much need – the entire island is a disaster zone.  The conditions are 10 times worse than we expected.  But we also found an amazing strength and perseverance among the people of Puerto Rico. There are 3 million people without food, water and electricity.  Yet they are asking us what they can do to help us.  I never experienced this in any other disaster.  They are great people and we are going to give them all the help we can.”

Adventures abound on the island. One night, driving on the pitch black streets to their impromptu “headquarters” set up at the Church of Scientology Puerto Rico, the car in front of the VMs crashed into a gigantic tree that had fallen on to the road. The VMs immediately went to the assistance of the couple in the crashed car.  While one VM cleaned and dressed their wounds and re-oriented the couple to their surroundings with the aid of a Scientology “Assist”*, the other VMs moved the tree out of the way and redirected traffic until the police arrived.

One local official told the VMs, “The help does not arrive and we do not have communication. When you arrived it was like a breath of hope. Thank you.”

Puerto Rican Scientologist Gabriel Fernandez, who has been flying the VMs to Puerto Rico in his private plane, is on standby in the Dominican Republic waiting for more VMs to arrive from Florida to the Dominica Republic where he will then fly them to Puerto Rico.

Calls continue to come into the VM Center thanking them for their help throughout the storm and requesting more help for those still affected by the destruction Irma left behind.

Donations of hygiene supplies, flashlights, and tools are being collected for Puerto Rico at the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Center in Downtown Clearwater at 101 N. Fort Harrison. For the complete list of supplies needed or to participate in the relief preparations for Puerto Rico please contact (727) 467-6966 or e-mail clemencec@volunteerministers.org.

For more information please visit http://www.scientologynews.org/ or http://www.volunteerministers.org/l-ron-hubbard.html.

Scientology Volunteer Ministers Disaster Relief Response

The Scientology Volunteer Ministers Disaster Response Team was born out of the World Trade Center disaster in New York City on September 11, 2001. Within hours of the disaster, New York Volunteer Ministers were on site providing immediate support to emergency personnel and helping to bring order to the chaos. 800 Scientology Volunteer Ministers from all over the US worked 24/7 for many weeks alongside New York emergency rescue teams.

The Scientology Volunteer Minister Program was conceived by L. Ron Hubbard who wrote in 1991, “A Volunteer Minister does not shut his eyes to the pain, evil and injustice of existence.”

*”Assists” are Scientology spiritual techniques that help bring relief to people who have been injured, or under stress and shock. “Assists” are an adjunct to but do not replace medical procedures.

Contact Amber Skjelset
(727) 467-6966