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'It was quite terrible': NM vets describe conditions in Puerto Rico

Kai Porter
October 17, 2017 06:55 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Last month, U.S. Army veterans Blake Azuela and Nicholas Meier discussed their plans to deliver lifesaving supplies to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

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They're back home, and they sat down with KOB-TV on Tuesday to talk about the experience.

"When you saw those people it was kind of surreal to see like, they're still out there and nobody can help them," Meier said.

They both considered the trip exhausting yet rewarding.

"When we got there the first thing we decided to do was to go to the Puerto Rican government and FEMA and talk to them just to make sure we weren't inline to places they were going to deliver and to, most of all, that we were being used effectively," Azuela said.

They shared some of the pictures and video they took during their journey, showing the devastation on the ground. Their mission was to reach some of the isolated communities cut off from food, water and power. In some cases, they trekked the supplies in on foot.

"It was quite terrible. That's my way of putting it lightly," Meier said. "Because the roads being destroyed, people do get cut off from access to emergency supplies, we had to dismount from our vehicle just to trek across a small river."

They didn't just deliver emergency supplies, but they also connected families.

"Every day was a new story,” Azuela said. "We got wellness checks completed, in which case those were the most motivating because we would go to these places without service, find these people, take some quick photos or video of them and then when we returned to San Juan we would send that to the families that had been requesting, trying to see their loved ones or parents. So those were great. I loved doing those."

They raised more than $8,000 through a GoFundMe page for their trip.

Credits

Kai Porter

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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