Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea is back in North Texas following a trip to help the people of Puerto Rico.
Owner Mark Cuban gave Barea full access to the team’s private jet to deliver supplies and help some people with special situations get off the island.
Back on the court less than 24 hours after an emotional turn of events, the point guard described how reaching out to Cuban set in motion a short mission trip to Puerto Rico.
“I texted him,” Barea recalled. “Five minutes later, he goes ‘Check your email.’ And I was in contact with the pilot and all the guys that run the Mavericks plane."
The plane was able to deliver plenty of clean water, food, medical supplies, and 32 generators.
The Mavs star, along with his wife and supporters, not only delivered supplies among the widespread damage but spoke to many offering hope. They returned to Dallas Tuesday with some of his family including his mom and grandmother.
“Emotionally, yesterday was a little tough when my mom saw me,” Barea said. “All my other brothers are in the states too so she was out of contact, but now they’re good. They are here.”
Thirteen people made the trip to Puerto Rico. However, they returned to Dallas with about 30 people, some with special needs to get off of the hurricane-ravaged island.
"We were about to leave, an old couple came over. His wife was having a transplant in Maryland,” Barea explained. “They couldn't get out of Puerto Rico, so they asked permission if they could get on the plane. We checked it out and it was all good. They got here and went to Maryland.”
A thankful and compassionate Barea is thinking about a follow-up trip to help even more.
“We still have like 4 18-wheelers full of stuff ready to go. Let’s see if we can get one more. I think Mark is up for it,” he said. “I don't think people know how bad it is. They know it’s bad, but they don't really know how bad it is.”
The Mavs plane will make a second trip on Friday to Puerto Rico to deliver more supplies.
Dr. Staci Benson is a Dallas-based family medicine doctor is collecting and sending much-needed medical supplies to a hospital she calls the "Parkland of Puerto Rico." Some of her supplies will be on the team's next flight.
"They're asking for large quantities so we really need a lot of support to help fill the needs of this hospital," she said. "I said, 'I can help with that.' So I started helping."
Benson connected with a coalition of mothers who are physicians across the country. And together, they've raised $100,000 and collected 5,000 pounds of medical supplies for Texas, Florida, and the Virgin Islands. This week, she delivered baby formula with "Pudge" Rodriguez's plane bound for Puerto Rico.
Benson got a call Wednesday that she could send 500 pounds of medical supplies on the Mavs team plane on Friday.
"It's drops in the bucket," the doctor said. "But it's something so that 2-year-old will get her dialysis. That 2-year-old is going to do better for at least a few weeks because of something we did."