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www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 7 - 20, 2017 x 5 SOUTHWEST SPOTLIGHT An Island in Need Southwest Residents Assist With Relief Efforts in Puerto Rico by Lauren Salinero 29 , 2016 AnnVarkeyRealtor@gmail.com After Hurricane Maria, Civil Air Patrol 1st Lt. Brian Collins of Dr. Phillips deploys to Puerto Rico for 10 days to assist with relief efforts. Walking up the gangplank from a commercial aircraft to an airport terminal is typically an exciting time. People are scurrying to get to their bags and meet loved ones. A new crowd awaits at the terminal, ready to depart as soon as the next flight is ready. Messages are constantly announced over the intercom. The noise and atmosphere is typically that of anticipation, determination and sometimes impatience. Not this time. Dr. Phillips resident and Civil Air Patrol 1st Lt. Brian Collins departed the aircraft in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in mid-October to almost total darkness. Passengers brought out flashlights and cameras to light their way through the power-deprived airport, eyes carefully trained to the floor to avoid pools of water still stagnant in some areas. A musty smell pervaded the terminal, the air hot and thick without the relief of air conditioning. It was at that point the seriousness of the situation dawned on Collins and his team. A member of Civil Air Patrol Emergency Services, Collins is qualified as a mission scanner, mission observer and aerial photographer. He was deployed to Puerto Rico for 10 days after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, along with 15 other volunteer members. Several other CAP members in the states also supported the mission as part of a virtual team. “In Puerto Rico, our mission was to document and photograph the entire island from the air, so my work was focused on that,” Collins said. “I spent most of my deployment in a Cessna behind the pilot shooting photos of any requested areas or targets that our crew was assigned. “We were the fifth group from CAP to be deployed to Puerto Rico — Team 5, which was comprised mostly of members from the Florida Wing. Virtually all of us were senior members, but we did bring one CONTINUED ON PAGE 6