While on their honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico, Stacy and Luis Viera were evacuated from their hotel and lived for five days with about 35 other people in a classroom at Cancun's College of Science and Technology. The newlyweds live in Springfield, and they are this week's People Profile.
Years in the community:
Luis has lived in Springfield for more than two years, and Stacey recently moved here upon their marriage.
Luis' family lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he originally grew up and attended college. Stacey has steadily moved southward from Burtonsville, Md., and later Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Her family still lives in Montgomery County, Md.
We are both college grads — Stacey from University of Maryland, College Park and Luis from University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez.
Luis is a project engineer for Shirley Contracting Company, and Stacey is a public affairs professional.
We got married on Oct. 16, nearly two months ago. Our family's biggest achievement to date was simply surviving our honeymoon in Mexico!
We love to make homemade ice cream, cook delicious meals and dance. Luis is also active in the Springfield Masonic Lodge.
Favorite local place in the community?
The summer is the best time of year for us in Springfield. We love to relax at the Daventry pool and see the kids in the neighborhood having fun with their friends.
We are increasingly nervous about living in the Washington area in the event that a terrorist attack could occur. Through our experiences while on our honeymoon in Mexico, we saw firsthand how ill-prepared American officials are to handle a crisis. We fear that what happened to us in Mexico could easily happen to other Virginians.
Our honeymoon began Oct. 17, but ended abruptly on Oct. 19, with the threat of Hurricane Wilma. When the hotel told us we were being evacuated to a shelter, we made dozens of phone calls to American Express Travel emergency numbers, the U.S. consulate's office and airlines to try and get back safely to the U.S., but without our travel agent's help or that of the United States Government, we failed. In the path of a Category 5 hurricane, our lives were in danger and we had no one to turn to.
As American citizens and taxpayers, we expected more from the U.S. government. It was truly painful to see Hurricane Wilma heading for us on television on Oct. 19, and at the same time seeing Americans in Florida being evacuated. Wilma was going to hit the Yucatan first — shouldn't we have been a priority for evacuation? Who was there to help evacuate us out of a foreign country?
What brought you here?
Luis always loved the Springfield area because of it's central location and proximity to the city. When he decided to invest in his first home, this is the place we chose to settle and are enjoying the area!
We both want to help improve our community so that the children we hope to parent in the future can feel safe and learn and grow. In a world — and a community — where everything moves so quickly, we encourage our neighbors to slow down, act a little more neighborly and enjoy the small things that make a big difference in our lives.
Do you know someone who should be featured in the Connection's People Profile? Send your nominations to Jon Whiten at email@example.com or call 703-917-6422.