Teenager Moves to Delmarva After Hurricane Maria

Axel and his cousins (WBOC PHOTO).

SALISBURY, Md.- While folks here on Delmarva may be tired of the snow, Axel Ponce is fascinated by it.

Ponce was born and raised in Puerto Rico and this is his first time experiencing the snow brought by Old Man Winter. It's safe to say that he loves it.  

"The first time I saw snow, I really wanted to play in it, so I threw myself in with all of my clothes on," said Ponce.

When he's not playing in the snow, Axel spends much of his time with his aunt, Jackie Lisjuan, who lives in Salisbury.

Jackie was desperate to help her family back on the island, in any way she could.

"I just sent out a message to all of them, I said whoever wants to come over here you are more than welcome to come, just tell me who's coming and I'm buying your tickets," said Lisjuan. 

Shortly afterwards, Axel's grandmother answered that call. Jackie says she will always remember that phone call. 

"As soon as she said, 'I'm not quite ready, I'll eventually go, but can you take my grandson?' And I had only met him once when he was 6-years-old, and I said, 'Oh my God, yes send him,'" said Lisjuan. 

Gladys Diaz, Axel's grandmother, raised him his entire life. She had never been apart from him, but felt she had no choice.

"I knew he had big dreams, and the situation would only delay them," Diaz said. "I told myself, it'll take a year for schools to reopen. Even now they're still being used as shelters."

Diaz  says it was one of the most difficult decisions she ever had to make, but she knew it was the right thing to do. 

Four months later, Axel is now enrolled at Faith Baptist School in Salisbury, all set to follow his dreams.

"I want to join the army, or the U.S. Marines because I want to be a pilot," said Axel. 

Dreams his aunt is more than happy to help him out with. 

"You know it's such an honor and a privilege to help him try to reach those dreams, and even though he went through this devastation, I think there's a purpose at least for him, behind all of this, to get him to where he wants to be," said Lisjuan.

But even though life gave Axel a second chance, his grandmother has a message for anyone with the power to help.

"Please keep helping us. We are suffering. People are still dying every single day," said Diaz.

A cry for help, and a long way to go. 

According to the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, most of Puerto Rico should have power by the end of February or early March. However, a complete restoration would likely take until May.






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