By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
U.S. Virgin Islands Boxing Federation president Tony Rosario, spearheaded a second trip to the territory on Tuesday with relief supplies that benefitted hundreds of residents.
His inaugural venture a week ago last Tuesday was in conjunction with American Black Cross and local cellular provider, CCT Global Communications—a partnership that will continue.
Rosario said they serviced more people this week.
“We brought a lot more items,” he told the Island Sun. “We brought a lot more tarpaulin-it seems like we didn’t bring enough—but we dropped some to Customs so that they can cover their building. We’d like to bring more, especially if I can get a storage space on Sunday to distribute on Tuesday. We have commitments from different entities for pallets of water and I want to bring them to Tortola. We have different things that we could bring but to come on the ferry, it’s a lot and the ferry also has to make money.”
He said he’d like to bring more 30’ x 50’ foot tarpaulin since there’s to FEMA here but to put them on a ferry has a cost. “Thanks to Smiths Ferry who’s helping us out, but they need room for passengers also,” he said. “We left a lot supplies in St. Thomas that we could have brought over because of the boat. But if we can get somebody with a little space to put the stuff in on a Sunday, we’ll have a lot more supplies to give out to the people.”
Last week, Rosairo, no stranger to the BVI and had been helping with getting boxing off the ground in the territory and brought all the equipment from his company Westline Production and 340 Boxing, said they have some people from American Black Cross that came in to look at their work and they have a lot of supplies that they are receiving and they will be shipping to Tortola.”
Rosario said Marge Smith who has BVI connections, has been helping him in St. Thomas at the Boxing Gym, where they had been giving away generators and a lot of the same supplies they brought to Tortola for over a month. He said they have gone into neighborhoods and doing their part for the community but hadn’t been publicizing it.
“We don’t really care about the publicity,” he said. “We’re doing this because it’s what we’re supposed to do. We are one Virgin Islands and we need to recover on both sides. USVI Boxing and West Line Production will give a helping hand so that we can get back together.”
Lee Merritt of American Black Cross, said the initiative and partnership with USVI Boxing came about when a group of independent Texas businessmen in the Dallas area, started a wish list after Hurricane Harvey, to help victims in the South Texas area and Houston.
“We raised 3.5 million in unused products and sent a convoy to South Texas,” Lee, a Civil Rights attorney said. “While we were in the middle of that effort, Hurricane Irma struck the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Florida Keys area. It was easy to get supplies to Florida in trucks and we delivered 300,000 supplies to the Florida Keys and they emphasized getting it out to the Virgin Islands and to Puerto Rico, following Irma and then Maria.”
Lee said they were able to partner with Virgin Islands ASEP, who has a relationship with USVI Boxing, who they trusted with distribution.
“Tony has proven himself very reliable and responsible in terms of how the materials are distributed and who receives it,” Lee said. “So we have committed long team not only to bring relief aid, but helping the Virgin Islands rebuild in terms of training for young men who may be out of work due to the fallout from the storm and the damage to the tourism industry. We’re investing in the long term and will try to figure out other crafts they can become skilled in to help rebuild the islands.”
Lee added: “But immediately, we’re in the business of providing the relief aid that’s being sent to our warehouse, re-palletizing them and shipping them out via plane or via boat.”
Sonia DeSuza who lost windows and doors during Hurricane Irma, said she thought it was a good venture giving back to the community.
“We want to say thanks to the USVI Boxing Federation and CCT for this contribution,” DeSuza said after collecting supplies. “I see a lot of pampers for the little kids and I think the relief is a help to the people.”