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USA Wrestling for Peace gives 1,000 pieces of gear to Puerto Rico federation in aftermath of Hurricane Maria

By Mike Willis, USA Wrestling | Dec. 19, 2018, 11:52 a.m. (ET)

Young wrestlers and their coaches in Puerto Rico pose together after receiving donations from USA Wrestling for Peace. Photo courtesy of United World Wrestling.

Earlier this December, USA Wrestling for Peace (USAW4P) collected over 1,000 pieces of wrestling gear including two wrestling mats, strength training equipment, singlets, shorts, shirts, wrestling shoes, headgear and warmups, to help the support the Puerto Rico Wrestling Federation in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

United World Wrestling (UWW) worked with USAW4P and the Puerto Rico Wrestling Federation to facilitate the transportation and distribution of the collected gear.

USA Wrestling for Peace is a program that aims to connect the world through wrestling and promotes the values of the sport globally through cultural exchange, humanitarian aid, public relations and competition.

USA Wrestling’s Chief of Donor and Alumni Relations, Steve Fraser, along with USAW4P program manager, Lorraine Rorabaugh, travelled to Puerto Rico to help distribute the gear and meet with the President of the Puerto Rico Wrestling Federation, Manuel Garcia, President of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee, Sara Rosario, and President of UWW Americas, Francisco Lee.

Fraser, a 1984 Greco-Roman Olympic champion, also put on a wrestling clinic for the Puerto Rican youth wrestlers.

“It was USA Wrestling for Peace’s pleasure to try and help - in some small way – with Puerto Rico’s challenges regarding recovery from Hurricane Maria. The resilience of Puerto Rico Wrestling Federation is inspiring. They are incredibly positive as they continue to work to recover from the hurricane. The international wrestling community never ceases to amaze me. I feel honored and blessed to be a part of this wonderful family,” said Fraser.

USAW4P spent several months collecting gear from individuals and organizations across the country to donate to the Puerto Rican wrestlers in need.

“Many thanks go out to the hundreds of individual athletes and coaches that supported this effort. And special thanks to “ (Joey & Joe Butler), Dollamur and Doug Webb for their generous contributions. This is an example of the wrestling community coming together as a family. It’s wrestling people helping other wrestling people in need, which is what USAW4P is all about,” he said.

Joint projects between USAW4P and United World Wrestling are the kind of efforts that make a big difference in the sport worldwide.

“Puerto Rico is one of the strongest wrestling nations in the Americas,” said UWW president Nenad Lalovic. “We are here to better serve our athletes, especially those who’ve had to overcome obstacles like the hurricanes in Puerto Rico. This is a part of what we’d like to accomplish, and it’s a great start.”

USAW4P has already lead several humanitarian trips in Mexico and North Africa and plans to continue to aid wrestling communities in need.