Fresenius operates 28 facilities in Puerto Rico, of which 26 were back up and running right after the hurricane. The other two needed significant repairs.
“The hurricane hit on a Wednesday,” Rawcliffe said. “I was brought in on a Friday. Monday morning I headed out of the Miami airport for Puerto Rico.”
Cellphone coverage was spotty. Images of pain and destruction that most saw only through a television screen he experienced in person. Just getting diesel fuel to generators at the Fresenius facilities proved to be an enormous challenge. Water could be hard to find at times too, and gas lines sometimes stretched a mile long.
But the ever-humble Rawcliffe was focused only on the mission at hand to make sure his company’s patients received what they needed. He says he was impressed most of all by his fellow employees in Puerto Rico.
“They nearly lost everything and then showed up to dialyze patients,” he said. “I couldn’t be any more proud.”
This is the first installment of Holiday Heroes, a seasonal AJC series that focuses on philanthropic efforts of local Atlantans. Each story captures the charitable impact meant to change communities for the greater good. To read more of the series, visit myAJC.com/living.
VIDEO: What Puerto Rico looked like a month after Hurricane Maria hit
The former AJC reporter has been there for a week doing disaster response.