Austin police officers worried about loved ones in Puerto Rico

A small group of Austin Police officers desperate to hear from their families after Hurricane Maria.

AUSTIN - Austin police officer, Gilbert Caraballo, hasn't talked to his parents in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit last week.

"Are they ok? And if so, where are they?" Caraballo wondered.

He is one of several Austin police officers trying to get in touch with family members on the island nation since the storm knocked out electricity for the entire country. 

The last time Caraballo talked to his parents was the day before Hurricane Maria hit on Tuesday night. Since the storm passed on Wednesday, he's constantly reached out to his mother.

"Every hour, I dial her number, call her, send her a message on Facebook, hoping that something will go through," said Caraballo.

On Monday, AT&T released a website that hopes to help connect families in the U.S. with loved ones in Puerto Rico.

Caraballo signed up.  

Caraballo's parents live in the south-central city of Ponce, near the coast. Using the app, Zello, Caraballo learned that some in that city were forced to evacuate during the storm.

But that's all he knows.

"So these basic needs, daily needs, for them to survive, I don't know that they have them. So every time I eat, myself, or feed my family, the thoughts that I'm thinking has my mom eaten?" Caraballo wondered.

Concerns made harder knowing that the entire country remains without power.

Still, whether he likes it or not, his life must go on. Caraballo has two children to care for -- not to mention a demanding job.

"Regardless of what's going on with our families, we still have to show up for work and make sure everybody else in our community and their families are well," Caraballo said.

Because as a first responder, he doesn't get a choice when you call 911.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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