SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, March 1, 2019
Medical Supplies Aid the Hurricane-Ravaged Territory
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, March 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Pearl Aircraft Chairman Jan Soderberg, a longtime leader in the business communities in Sweden and the U.S., this month accompanied friends President Bill Clinton and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Puerto Rico sites still devastated by Hurricane Maria. As part of the mission, Soderberg, a Swedish native and Puerto Rico business owner, organized the delivery of 30,000 pounds of medical supplies to hospitals and medical facilities throughout the island.
The 30,000 pounds of requested supplies included hospital beds, ambulation devices, general primary medical supplies, exam tables, stretchers and more. Soderberg sourced the supplies through New York-based Afya Foundation and organized transport of supplies with the use of his private aircraft and a Boeing 737 cargo flight donated by Swift Air, the largest charter airline in the U.S.
"My company, Pearl Aircraft Corporation, is headquartered in Puerto Rico. I have a vested interest in the island and the well-being of the Puerto Rican people," said Jan Soderberg, Chairman of Pearl Aircraft. "I feel it is my civic duty to give back to my fellow U.S. citizens, that is why I have provided my own private aircraft to ship the medical supplies that the Afya Foundation has so generously donated. I want to thank Swift Air and its Chief Executive Jeff Conry for donating the transport of supplies from Miami to Puerto using its cargo aircraft, and Afya Foundation for making this experience so positive and seamless."
Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September of 2017, and the island is still struggling with slow and costly recovery efforts. Immediately following the hurricane, many supplies arrived in Puerto Rico but were not usable. "What I have learned is that many goods that initially arrived in Puerto Rico ended up in the garbage dump. This was due not only to an inability to distribute goods when local infrastructure such as harbors, roads and electrical grids were destroyed, but also, importantly, due to failure by donors and aid organizations to listen to the local needs," said Soderberg.
"As I headed to the island for this visit with the Clinton's, I wanted to help in any way I could," Soderberg said. "I contacted Afya Foundation and offered to bring a ton of supplies in my own airplane. I knew that wouldn't go very far in the island with 4 million people, so we coordinated with local hospitals in Puerto Rico where we collected wish lists of what was really needed and arranged with local organizations that would distribute the supplies. The missing link was means of transportation to the island. I contacted Swift Air, which is the largest U.S. charter airline, and is also one of my clients. Swift agreed to contribute the transport of goods in its cargo aircraft, a Boeing 737 that could haul 30,000 pounds at a time. The Miami-based cargo terminal Strat Air chipped in with air cargo pallets, nets, space and personnel and a local fuel vendor was very generous in helping. The Clinton Foundation has also been very helpful with introductions and support." According to Soderberg, it was a joint effort of many organizations and generous individuals that made this undertaking possible.
In the days following the redevelopment site visits, Soderberg joined the Clinton's at a meeting of the Clinton Foundation's Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery, which was held in San Juan.
Pearl Aircraft Corporation is a Puerto Rico-based commercial aircraft leasing company which provides financial solutions to airlines, lessors and lenders throughout the world. The company was founded by Swedish native Jan Soderberg. Mr. Soderberg has nearly 40 years of international business experience and has held leadership positions in both public and private companies in the U.S. and Sweden.
Kristi Demos de Villiers
Pearl Aircraft Corporation