DENVER -- The destruction from Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico is personal for Denver resident Tamil Maldonado Vega. She grew up there, and has many relatives living there now, including her father.
"Oh I'm a wreck, I have to be honest. This has been chaos," she said. “My stress levels are like super high. I'm asleep at 2, 3 the morning. I get up and look at the phone all the time to see if they're calling or if they're sending any messages."
Communication on the island is tough. When she tried to call her father with Denver7 reporter Marc Stewart, she was diverted to voicemail.
"You're telling your dad you love him very much?” asked Stewart. “Yeah and I hope at some point we can see each other and give us a hug," she said.
Tamil’s father is safe, but she knows the destruction is widespread.
"It's across the whole island. It's not like some places are better than the other ones. No. They are all affected," she said.
Maldonado Vega was on Puerto Rico during Hurricane Irma, but returned to Colorado before Maria hit.
"I have a kid [who’s] 2 ½ years old, so every time that I see a kid in need, it just breaks my heart. And at the same time, I've seen pictures of kids taking trees out of the street," she said.
Moments of hope in Puerto Rico have come along with the heartbreak.
"We need to plan for the future,” she said. “We need to help each other to really restore everything, and that's the spirit and the energy we're sending out.
The Latino Chamber of Commerce is helping to organize a benefit concert. The proceeds will help victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico as well as recent earthquakes in Mexico. There will be a silent auction in addition to entertainment. The event will be held on Oct. 12 from 4-7 p.m. at the McNichol’s Building, 144 W. Colfax Avenue, Denver CO 80202. More information can be found here.