Newport News, Va (WAVY) — A local optician is giving the gift of sight this holiday season.
Rose Mary Torres, owner of La Vista optical, decided to travel hundreds of miles to help people devastated by Hurricane Michael.
Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle in October as a powerful Category 4 storm.
“Their glasses got blown away with the storm,” explained Torres. “You lose everything. You lose your house. You lose so much. There are so much paperwork that people have to fill out. When you can’t see, that’s a problem.”
Torres says she got the idea to set up the La Vista disaster relief effort in 2017 after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. That storm impacted her sister.
“One day she was waiting for water. She had been in line for three hours,” explained Torres. “She said, ‘On top of everything else my glasses broke.’ As an optician that kind of hit me hard. I was like, ‘I think I know what I can do.”
La Vista Optical received hundreds of eye glass donations from all over the country to help. The company traveled to Puerto Rico and gave out about 500 glasses.
Torres spent two days in Panama City and Mexico Beach earlier this month, were she gave out nearly 100 glasses.
“We don’t get paid for that we do. The satisfaction in knowing especially at this time of the year that you are helping someone, it is intense,” she said.
Melony Rogers lives in Bay County, Florida, and lost her house to the storm. Rogers says she went two months without glasses before Torres showed up.
“I immediately cried. I guess you could say it was Christmas time that day,” said Rogers. “To think that someone came here. She was so concerned about us and came here to bring us glasses. A lot of people don’t think how important that is.”
While Torres hopes there is not another storm, she is prepared to help people see after the next disaster.
For more information on how you can donate glasses email email@example.com.