Puerto Rican woman discusses overcoming amazing struggles after Hurricane Maria
MIAMI LAKES, Fla. – A Puerto Rican woman's dream of opening her own My Gym Children's Fitness Center was nearly blown off course by Hurricane Maria, but the storm's devastation led to determination, and eventually triumph.
Just after Hurricane Irma in September 2017, Amanda Saltiel flew to California for her My Gym formal training. But while she as there, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and absolutely decimated the island.
For days, Saltiel was not able to contact her family members who were there.
"Apart from all of the chaos going on over there and me not knowing anything about my family, the day before I finished training I actually had a car accident," Saltiel said.
The car she was in was totaled, but luckily Saltiel was able to walk away from the crash. Soon after family members in Puerto Rico were able to get in touch with her, and said her grandmother would be brought to Miami because she was struggling with no electricity for her respirator.
"We took her to the apartment, she was going to take a nap and we literally went across the street to get lunch, she stayed with her nanny... sadly that day she passed away," Saltiel said.
The family was able to bring everyone back to the island for the funeral but their bad luck wasn't over yet.
"We go back to my parent's house just to heat up some food on the barbecue like they were doing the past week," said Saltiel. "All of the sudden there was a leak in the gas tank of the barbecue and we had a massive fire that burnt down our parents' house," Saltiel said.
With the island destroyed by storms, their grandmother gone and the family's home burned down, Saltiel says that was rock bottom.
"I was like maybe this is just not for me if all of this is happening, maybe it's time to just restructure everything," she said.
Two years later though, things are back on track.
Last week, Saltiel opened her My Gym, but instead of it being in Puerto Rico, it's in Miami Lakes. Saltiel says she is glad that she never let go of that dream.
"If you do give up, then you have nothing so it's like I can't you know there's no room for giving up. There's no room for not doing anything," Saltiel said.
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