HOUSTON – It would be six days before Astros Shortstop Carlos Correa would hear from his family in Puerto Rico after a major hurricane plowed over the island.
"It was pretty hard to focus in the beginning, when I didn't hear from my family,” Correa said.
Eventually, he was able to reach his grandmother by phone, who explained to him some of what she had been through after Hurricane Maria made landfall.
"She said she was fine, that they lost everything in the house, that they had no power -- but they're alive and that's all that matters to me,” Correa explained.
The baseball star and World Series champion was born and raised in the coastal town of Santa Isabel, where much of his family still lives.
A crew from KPRC Channel 2 followed Correa to his hometown last year as part of his return for his annual charity golf tournament.
The town organized a hero’s welcome for Correa, with several little league teams donning Astros jerseys, a live performance from Correa’s church’s gospel choir, and a young boy reading a letter he wrote to Correa aloud to a crowd of a few hundred.
That was before Maria made its mark on the island, and photos published in a Univision report show a strikingly different picture of the beach town, with power lines toppled and roofs and walls torn to shreds.
Correa, at the time enthralled in postseason baseball, knew he had to do something to help.
He worked with the Astros Foundation in coordination with Crane WorldWide, FedEx, the Houston Mayor’s Office and pastor Jose Ortega to send a plane to Puerto Rico carrying more than 240,000 pounds of disaster relief supplies.
Correa is currently taking a four-day vacation, then plans to return to Houston before ultimately flying back to Puerto Rico for the first time since Maria made landfall.
He said he plans to bring clothing and shoes to the island in partnership with his sponsor, Adidas.