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Update: Schumer to try and help Dunkirk mayor find mom in Puerto Rico

Sean Kirst

The Buffalo office of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer has reached out to Mayor Willie Rosas of Dunkirk, and the senator's staff members have promised to assist the mayor in the quest to reach his mother.

As The Buffalo News reported earlier today, Rosas and his three siblings have been unable to reach their mother, Rosalia, 79, for six days, since Hurricane Maria caused sweeping, violent damage across Puerto Rico. Rosalia, who spent decades in Dunkirk, lives near Hormigueros, on the western part of the island.

Her phone rings busy on any attempt to call, and her children are trying to make sure that she is safe.

"We’re doing everything possible to help," said Jason Kaplan, Schumer's press secretary. He said Shannon Patch, regional director of Schumer's office in Buffalo directly contacted Dunkirk City Hall. Many federal emergency response teams crews are already on the ground in Puerto Rico.

Kaplan also said any Western New Yorkers cut off from contact with relatives in Puerto Rico are welcome to contact the Buffalo office at (716) 846-4111, and the staff will do what it can to help.

In a Facebook message, Hector Rosas Jr., the mayor's brother and the city's director of festivals and special events, expressed appreciation for the senator's interest. Hector hopes to fly to Puerto Rico next weekend, both on a journey to locate his mother and to deliver donated cash and supplies.

"Not only are we praying for our mom," he said, "but for all of the people affected by the disaster."

He and Edwin Ramos, Dunkirk city clerk, are accepting donations of cash, toiletries, bottled water, flashlights and other emergency goods in care of Dunkirk Festivals/Special Events, 338 Central Ave., Suite 210, Dunkirk, 14048.

-- Sean Kirst is a columnist with The Buffalo News. Email him at or read more of his work in this archive.

Sean Kirst: In Western New York, worried mayor can't reach mother after hurricane

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