Hamilton man’s efforts in Puerto Rico personal due to family there

Majors Leo and Persi Sanclemente are the Commanding Officers of the Salvation Army’s Hamilton Corps. Leo is planing to go on a mission trip to Puerto Rico to help with relief efforts following Hurricane Maria. WAYNE BAKER/STAFF
Caption
Majors Leo and Persi Sanclemente are the Commanding Officers of the Salvation Army’s Hamilton Corps. Leo is planing to go on a mission trip to Puerto Rico to help with relief efforts following Hurricane Maria. WAYNE BAKER/STAFF

The leader of Hamilton’s Salvation Army is planning to make a mission trip to help the people in Puerto Rico after the damage caused by Hurricane Maria.

Majors Leo and Persi Sanclemente have been serving as Commanding Officers of the Salvation Army’s Hamilton Corps since July of 2016. While the majors are not from Puerto Rico, they do have relatives that live on the island. Leo’s sister lives in the city of Aguada, he said.

MORE: Ohio National Guard deploys more troops to hurricane ravaged Caribbean

Since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm Sept. 19 with winds up to 155 mph, the Salvation Army has been helping approximately 14,000 people a day with food and shelter, according to the organization.

There are 11 Salvation Army Corps on the island right now and Leo will be deployed for two weeks to serve alongside other officers in the near future.

MORE: Hurricane Maria: Live updates

He has the experience of responding to emergency having served during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City.

“All officers of The Salvation Army can be called upon to respond when there are disasters or emergencies. Salvation Army supports wherever there is crisis or need,” Leo said. “In this particular case the need for bilingual officers to assist the people of Puerto Rico was necessary.”

Leo said support is still needed and donations are crucial to keep moving forward with relief efforts. Fundraising efforts have been successful with a GoFundMe page raising more than $1 million in 24 hours.

“We think everyone is trying to respond, but the magnitude is vast,” he said.

The Sanclementes have served within the ranks of The Salvation Army for almost 25 years in New Jersey, Southern New England, Massachusetts and Eastern Pennsylvania.