(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – On Sept. 20, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, ravaging the island which is still struggling to regain power in many areas nearly two months later.
As Puerto Rico works on rebuilding, a challenge has occurred for its athletes who seek to return to training in preparation for this season’s competitions.
Recently, the Puerto Rican Fencing Federation’s president, Juan Carlos Ramirez, reached out to the fencing community to request assistance for athletes looking to train on the mainland.
Several clubs throughout the United States have offered to house Puerto Rican fencers with host families and allow them to train in their facilities while the rebuilding process continues in their hometowns.
Rochester Fencing Club, Mission Fencing Center (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.), Nellya Fencers (Atlanta, Ga.), Renaissance Fencing Club (Troy, Mich.) and International Fencers Alliance of Dallas are among those who are housing and training athletes from Puerto Rico.
Sydney Olympian Iris Zimmermann (Rochester, N.Y.) has spearheaded a fundraising campaign to assist with the costs associated with housing, food, competitions and travel for these fencers.
Zimmermann is seeking to raise $10,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to help Puerto Rican fencers who have come to clubs throughout the United States to train.
To support this campaign, visit https://www.gofundme.com/prfencingfund.
If your club is interested in housing a fencer from Puerto Rico, please contact Zimmermann at firstname.lastname@example.org.