Volunteers come home after restoring power in Puerto Rico

Posted at 10:09 PM, Mar 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-10 23:09:57-05

TULSA -- Tulsans return home after restoring power in Puerto Rico months after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

"Once you get boots on the ground you see what kind of disaster is still there on the island," said Travis Miller, Mission Manager with the Army Corps of Engineers.

18 Tulsans spent 45 days on the island restoring power to critical structures like hospital and police and fire stations.

"Some of these more remote and localized communities we’re actually providing power to the entire community there," said Miller.

One of the most rewarding for them was bringing power back to schools.

"You have some of these students that haven’t had power for five or six months so they’ve been going to school for half days," said Shaun Wenzel, Deputy Mission Manager with the Army Corps of Engineers.

They provided 271 megawatts of power on the island with 1,700 generators and a total of 1,300 structures over the course of the mission. But this effort didn't come short of obstacles.

"Another huge thing we ran into is a language barrier so we had to implement a linguist contract in order to be able to communicate with the locals," said Wenzel.

These volunteers met with their loved ones at the Tulsa International Airport Saturday afternoon, all glad to be reunited after 45 days.

"My wife surprised her she was under the impression she was picking somebody else up and it was actually me she was picking up so she was very excited," said Wenzel.


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