Alone in Columbia at the Hospital: How deputies helped him find his family

Today...an elderly man from Puerto Rico is with his family in Tampa Florida after being seperated because of Hurricane Maria...two Richland County Deputies helped make that happen with one video.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - An elderly man from Puerto Rico is now reunited with his family in Tampa because of two Richland County Deputies and one viral video.  

He was separated from his loved ones because of Hurricane Maria, FEMA brought him to South Carolina after the hospital he was staying in could no longer take care of his heart condition.

"I'm over here in Columbia, South Carolina with Luis Manuel Lopez Mercado," said Corporal Raul Ortiz in a Facebook video that went viral.  "We're trying to get a hold of his family"

"He's here alone and was admitted to the hospital," he said. Luis Mercado was put on a plane by himself. Luis doesn't speak any English, and when he got here all he wanted was to be with his family. 

So Corporal Raul Ortiz and Captain David Soto took it upon themselves to make this video. 

The response was overwhelming. The video reached over 700K people, "we got people from Hawaii Alaska Canada Connecticut it was astonishing the amount of people that were calling us" said Soto. 

One of them, was his granddaughter from Tampa, Florida. "As soon as he got that call, his medical health got so much better" said Ortiz.

WATCH: Video where Ortiz and Soto thank Facebook friends for helping them reunite Luis with his family. 

FEMA coordinated his move to Florida and Luis, let's just say, is grateful beyond words can explain or translate. 

"Jamas pensaba que yo me iva a encontrar a personas de buena volutnad y que estuvieran conmigo todo el tiempo," said Luis during a phone interview with News19.  Translation: "I never thought I would find people with such good intentions he said I'm filled with emotions and I even cry at the thought that they never left me by myself."

Soto says Luis has seen grandchildren he hasn't been able to see in years, his health is much better every single day. 

Special thanks to Ivonne Soto and the staff of Palmetto Health who helped take good care of Luis Manuel Lopez Mercado. 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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