Our latest Queens People of the Week couldn't turn away from the contaminated water crisis plaguing the residents of Flint, Michigan, so they banded together and made their way to the Midwest to help. NY1's Leisha Majtan filed the following report.
Service is in Raymond Ramos' blood. He spent 21 years in the armed forces and 10 years ago started a nonprofit to motivate and inspire young men.
It was the contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan that inspired his latest mission.
"I found it appalling that I could go to another country and fight, and yet, things that I saw in third-world countries pretty much are happening here, and nobody is doing anything about it," Ramos said.
Lead contaminated Flint's tap water in 2014 after the city decided to switch water sources.
Frustrated by the crisis, Ramos enlisted the help of fellow church members and other nonprofits to become the "Flint Coalition." Together, they raised $13,000 and made their way to Michigan in April.
"The initial groundswell was what was necessary but now after everything has died down, there are loads of people who still need assistance," said Queens Person of the Week William West
Once they touched down, the volunteers bought more than 150,000 bottles of water, and hundreds of cases of hand sanitizer and baby wipes. They personally handed the items out to thousands of Flint residents.
"Just being able to touch the people, let them know we came because we love them. They were so surprised. "You would come from New York? For us?" said Queens Person of the Week Beverly Sherrod.
"You don't realize how important something like water is until you don't have it or have access to it," said Queens Person of the Week Frederick Towles.
Though the volunteers are back in New York, they're still helping the residents of Flint. They continue to raise money and are planning another trip to Michigan in the fall.
"We're all one people at the end of the day. We just really have to come together and help each other. We would want the same if it happened in New York," said Queens Person of the Week David Tanis.
So, for extending a helping hand across the country, members of the Flint Coalition are the latest Queens People of the Week.