Carlos Correa honored for his hurricane-relief efforts
NEW YORK — If there was anyone in the room unclear why Carlos Correa was receiving the Joan Payson-Shannon Forde Humanitarian Award at the 95th annual New York Baseball Writers’ Association of America Dinner on Sunday night, the Astros’ shortstop erased any lingering doubt.
Moments after accepting the honor for outstanding community service and thanking the writers for choosing him, Correa took a moment to reflect. He looked back on the frightening effects of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, and on the dire situation in his native Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.
“This was a great year,” Correa said. “But obviously every great story has some struggles right in between. And for me, and for us and Houston, it was first of all Hurricane Harvey.”
Correa remembered rehabbing in Triple-A when Harvey hit. His family, along with the rest of the Astros’ squad, were stuck in Houston with no escape plan. Unimaginably, the Astros were playing baseball while many of their family members were trapped inside their homes.
“But right after the hurricane, we were able to come back to Houston and as a team we were able to help and impact a lot of people,” Correa said. “I want to thank Jim Crane and the Astros organization for all their help and contributions for helping me raise over $500,000 to give beds to more than 500 families.
Newly retired fellow Puerto Rican Carlos Beltran presented the award to Correa. Beltran said Correa deserves the award because it’s not about the performance players put in a 162-game schedule, it’s the work they put in off the field. Correa boosted his efforts off the field when it hit home — Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico when the Astros were playing the Rangers in Arlington. Correa remembered having no way to contact his family.
“Hearing it hit, I didn’t know anything. All my family, I couldn’t contact them,” Correa said. “I would call, there was no service, I would text, I would get nothing. So first thing you start thinking is the worst. Where are all your family? Your grandparents are there, and they’re sick. They have no power, they have nothing, they have no food, no water.”
The shortstop went seven days without hearing a peep from his loved ones. Correa said he could barely manage a hit that week. The hurricane and his family were all he could think about. And when he finally heard from them, seven days later, he called Crane and asked the Astros’ owner for one thing.
“I said, ‘Jim, I have a lot of supplies with me. I have water, I have food, I have everything. I just need a plane in order for me to send all this stuff to Puerto Rico,'” Correa said. “He said, ‘I’ll call you right back.’ He calls me 10 minutes later and said, ‘I have a plane for you.’ And we were able to send food and water to everybody in Puerto Rico.”
Simply, that’s all it took. For Correa, being an outstanding humanitarian and exemplifying community service means reaching out and helping those who need it most. And all this while en route to winning Houston’s first World Series championship, with his heart and soul in Puerto Rico.
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