EC chef makes run to Puerto Rico after storm
By Cindy Beamon
Albemarle Life Editor
Friday, November 24, 2017
Life has not returned to normal yet in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, but a chef in Elizabeth City delivered some relief in the aftermath.
Edward Valle, who works at Circle II Restaurant in Elizabeth City, said he and two friends made a roundabout run to Puerto Rico about a week after the storm hit on Oct. 4.
Valle, 60, said the friends met in Florida, loaded their boats with water, food and clothes, and delivered the much-needed supplies to Barceloneta, about 50 miles from San Juan. Valle said his friend from Miami was worried after not being able to make contact with his mother there.
"It's our people. We have to help each other out," he said.
At the time, other boats traveling major routes were blocked by governmental red tape, Valle said, but he knew a less traveled route. The trip took several hours, he recalled.
They arrived to find widespread devastation. Roads had been wiped out, no one had power, but people were most worried about where to find their next meal or drink of water, he said.
"His family was so excited to see us. They never expected us to do it," he said.
Valle said nothing, except the foundation, was left of a vacation house he owned at the beach.
Valle said he's heard reports that life is much better in Puerto Rico although it's still far from normal. His friend's family is now back in their home, he said.
Valle said he still has ties to Puerto Rico where he was born and lived in an orphanage until age 6 when he was sent to New York. He grew up in the Bronx and became involved in gangs -- a part of his life Valle said he's happy to be away from.
Valle said he found Elizabeth City through a friend who was opening a restaurant. He's been cook for a few local eateries over the past four years.