SEATTLE – When his home country was devastated by a flood, Fredy Montero knew he had to help. When the Sounders community heard about it, they knew they had to help Montero.
Campo de la Cruz, Colombia, the township where Montero was born and where his grandfather lives, was one of the hardest hit areas during the December floods that rocked the country. The natural disaster occurred just days after the Sounders attacker signed a contract to become the club’s third Designated Player. Within the week, Montero boarded a plane to South America to assist with the relief effort.
[inline_node:330044]The Sounders organization and the international relief agency Mercy Corps offered assistance, too, organizing a successful benefit in December. Three main Seattle supporters’ groups—Emerald City Supporters, North End Supporters and Gorilla FC—joined the Sounders in putting on the event, which raised an estimated $12,000 for flood relief.
Any donor who contributed $500 or more received an autographed Fredy Montero jersey, a small token of the star’s appreciation for such generous support. In total, through several offseason fundraisers and personal trips to the affected areas, Montero has raised more than $29,000 for flood relief.
“I feel very honored to be a part of this community,” Montero said. “The way the Sounders community has stepped up to help us out, my family and I feel very grateful for the support we have been getting. It’s important for me to know that I can be a player and do what I can on the pitch, but also people value me as a person and understand my passion about my family and the place where I come from.”
On Tuesday, Montero’s efforts were recognized as he was named MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Month for March.
And he already has plans to do more. In the very near future, the Fundación Fredy Montero will launch to continue Montero’s humanitarian efforts.
According to Reuters, 300 people lost their lives and another 2.2 million were displaced by the flooding and mudslides, which came as the result of torrential rains and a broken dike along the Magdelena River, Colombia’s largest. But Montero says there has been progress made.
“I’ve been there three or four times,” Montero said. “The first time was to see the problem and what were the most urgent needs.
“My second visit, we shopped [in the United States] for food, water—which was one of the things which was most needed—and my family and I went down there with assistance for about 300 families. We got help from police trucks, which we used to transport the food and groceries we bought for them.”
[inline_node:324277]According to Montero, the three main roads that lead into Campo de la Cruz have now been cleared, but standing water and animal carcasses remain in much of the surrounding landscape. With that, comes the threat of mosquitos and the diseases they carry.
While early relief efforts were focused on bringing food, water, and other essentials, the focus has changed to help the locals reclaim their land.
“The efforts for cleaning these areas are being driven by the people themselves,” Montero said. “The authorities don’t know if they are doing it in the right way or not. There is still a chance for disease to spread. We still need help.”
To help, visit the Seattle Sounders FC fundraising page at the Mercy Corps website: http://www.mercycorps.org/fundraising/seattlesoundersfc