NEWARK, New Jersey - It was a warm welcome home for a collection of New Jersey state troopers, correction officers and local police officers, who spent weeks in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. It was called 'Operation NJ Pride.'
The group touched down at Newark Airport on Saturday night - 60 of them are now back home. The first wave went down to Puerto Rico in September , 400 total in a two-month span.
Many of them say it was an emotional experience to see the hardship up close - something they will never forget.
"When we were flying in on our approach it's the blue tarps that really got me, over the houses. There was hundreds of them. And it just hurts you, because people are going through a difficult time. I met a lot of people that are in really, really bad shape. Everything from water to MREs, to just a hug. I was lucky to go," said Kenneth Sheridan of the Ridgefield Police Department.
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New Jersey State Police Sergeant Lee Carvalho talked about how difficult it all was to witness.
"Unfortunately you got to see families that have been without power for 83 days. Unfortunately, parts of the island they still have no water. No food. Very difficult situation. You see children. We assisted an orphanage with some supplies. Some water, some schools. That level, at a child level it's very difficult to witness," Sergeant Carvalho said.
As happy as they are to be home, the group says they have mixed feelings about leaving Puerto Rico. To see the island still devastated, these officers say there is still so much more help that Puerto Rico needs.