15:11 PM

Middle Tenn. State University Delegation Delivers Supplies to Beleaguered Puerto Rico Family

In one moment Wednesday, when Luz Cortes hugged her son, Raymond Cintron, the reason for Middle Tennessee State University’s Raider Relief mission with Civil Air Patrol in hurricane-battered Puerto Rico became 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 the 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 basketball Blue Raiders in 2011-13, has been displaced to the Orlando area from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the Category 4 storm that devastated Puerto Rico in September.

His family remains on the island and was in dire need of medicine, food and generators -- all of which were stuffed into Freeman’s aircraft.

On Wednesday, with the help of CAP’s Puerto Rico Wing, MTSU’s partner with its Department of Aerospace, Cintron’s family got the aid it desperately needed. Freeman flew Cintron, McPhee, school Vice President Andrew Oppmann — a lieutenant colonel in Civil Air Patrol  — 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 today. McPhee credited the Puerto Rico volunteers for making the final stages of Raider Relief possible.

“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, Puerto Rico Wing commander, 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.”