Staff Sgt. with 109th Airlift Wing returns from Puerto Rico

December 29, 2017 05:28 AM

SCHENECTADY -- A Staff Sergeant with the 109th Airwing in Schenectady County is back home after spending a month and a half in Puerto Rico, helping people devastated by Hurricane Maria.

“Our primary function was to download large grade aircraft with food and water,” said Staff Sgt. John Cox.

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It was needed at every turn. People were living in houses without roofs, boiling rain water to drink, doing whatever they could to survive.

“It really was a mess,” Cox said. “Puerto Rico needed help and they still need help. It's gonna take a couple of years for them to get up and running again.”

After unloading planes onto pickup trucks, they drove around with food and water for the people who needed it the most. In one case, a woman with seven kids.

“It was a very sad thing to witness. They were in tough shape,” Cox said.

Now back home, after spending 47 days there, Cox says he was happy to help, calling it both challenging and rewarding.

“I didn't meet a single person who didn't thank us a million times and thank God and thank our government for providing the help that we gave them,” he said. “It was a very overwhelming happiness and gratefulness.”

Cox is grateful, too. He came home with a new family member, a pitbull named Maria.

WEB EXTRA: Arriving in Puerto Rico to help with Hurricane Maria recovery


WNYT Staff

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