Families fleeing Puerto Rico find shelter and friendship at Henrico hotel

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A hotel in Henrico County is working around the clock to help dozens of families displaced from Puerto Rico.

The general manager at Candlewood Suites said they’ve taken in 70 families and nearly 30 pets since last week. The hotel is in close proximity to Richmond International Airport, so when four flights full of people arrived with nowhere else to go, staffers stepped up to help.

“Thank you, you made me feel like I’m at home,” Brenda Diaz told one of the employees.

“I’m so glad you guys are doing OK,” employee Shonda Adams replied.

Adams was one of those staffers who welcomed people like Brenda Diaz and her two children, who evacuated Puerto Rico three days after Hurricane Maria hit.

“This hotel has been amazing. They welcomed us, they treated us like family”

“It’s a shock. you’re in complete shock, you have no idea what you’re going to be doing, what the future holds for you, what you’re going to be able to do, there’s no way out,” Diaz said.

“Seeing some of the people talk about it, it’s just … I had to help, so I thought that it was the right thing to do and it’s been worth it,” Adams added.

For some guests, it was their first time having water and air conditioning, some of the luxuries Diaz says we often take for granted.

“They had food for us, I mean it was great, it was great to have something cold to drink and something hot to eat,” Diaz said. “This hotel has been amazing. They welcomed us, they treated us like family.”

Diaz left Candlewood Suites Thursday with a smile on her face — and a new friend — as she heads back to Puerto Rico.

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