Utah fathers, sons learn lessons of love, service in Puerto Rico

Editor’s note: Deseret News reporter Amy Donaldson and photojournalist Spenser Heaps traveled to Puerto Rico earlier this month to chronicle the efforts of Utahns trying to bring relief and comfort to those suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. This is the second in a series of reports.

RINCON, Puerto Rico — Statton Davis planned to turn 17 in style.

The well-planned celebration included a friend-centered party, a vintage turntable, some classic rock vinyl and new snowmobile gear that he picked out long before his Dec. 2 birthday.

Instead, the Cache County teen marked his birthday with his dad, scrambling across battered tin roofs in Puerto Rico, converting orange buckets into water filtration systems — and learning a life lesson that all that stuff he thought was important might not really matter at all.

“It’s been the best birthday present ever,” he said swallowing hard in an attempt to keep his emotions at bay, “so fulfilling. I have really fallen in love with the Puerto Rican people. They’re really different people. I think we could learn a lot from them.”

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

José Antonio Vera Ortiz, center, shows photos of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to Al Dustin, Statton Davis, Ben Davis and Dan Dustin, left to right, while Ortiz’s wife, Darissa Romàn Frontera, looks on at their home in Las Marías, Puerto Rico, on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017.

When Lendio executive Mark Santiago approached his colleague, Ben Davis, about putting together a humanitarian trip to Puerto Rico, the goal was two-fold. They planned to deliver supplies like solar lights and batteries, water filtration systems, USB fans, tarps and toiletries to some of the communities still struggling to recover even basic structures of everyday life three…

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