Former Fargo Man Tells His Story of Surviving Hurricane Maria and its Aftermath

Courtney Kostelecky moved to San Juan in 2014

FARGO, N.D. — One former Fargo man lived through the devastation of Hurricane Maria and its aftermath.

He is telling his story in the hopes that people in the states realize there is so much more that needs to be done.

“I’m tired of winter, I’m going someplace,” said Courtney Kostelecky.

With those words, Courtney Kostelecky made a decision to relocate to the island paradise of Puerto Rico.

“I actually went to Puerto Rico on vacation to go see a rock concert in 2009,” said Kostelecky.

Kostelecky moved from Fargo to a suburb of San Juan in 2014.  He’s lived through North Dakota winters and prairie storms, but trying to get through Hurricane Maria left him at a loss of what to do.

“I’m going into my bathroom and I close the door, and I’m wondering ‘what am I going to do?'” said Kostelecky.  “Then the bathroom door starts shaking and water starts coming in, and it’s like ‘I got to get out of here.’  So, I grab a couple things and I make a run for the front door.”

Kostelecky rode out the rest of the hurricane in the hallways of his high–rise apartment, bracing himself as the building swayed in the Category 5 winds; however, surviving the hurricane was only part of Kostelecky’s story.

“The aftermath is really the worst part because you’ve got no electricity, you’ve got no clean water, and those two things are really relevant to everything,” said Kostelecky.

Although the area near Kostelecky’s apartment is almost back to normal, there are many parts of the island without power or water.

“There’s a relatively poor area,” said Kostelecky, “There’s a bridge that goes through that – the hurricane totally demolished the cement bridge and so you’ve got one half of the people there that has no access to the rest of the island.”

Kostelecky knows that Puerto Rico is a long way from being normal.

“I do know that it’s going to be a long time for Puerto Rico to get back to the way it is,” said Kostelecky.

You can find a link to a website Kostelecky has set up to help those still affected by Hurricane Maria by clicking here.

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