Even with a 4 a.m. call time, the excitement was palpable for the DTE Energy workers heading to Puerto Rico to assist with power restoration efforts after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.
This dedicated group of men and women is part of the second team of DTE employees, including linemen, mechanics, damage assessors and engineers, helping the people and businesses of Puerto Rico.
“We’re working together as a team with a common mission of restoring power to Puerto Rico,” said Jim Turner, one of DTE’s field supervisors. “While linemen are out working to restore power, we need logistics teams to ensure that the crew has all of their necessary materials.”
DTE crews who were part of the first wave of crews on the island shared their knowledge to make the second trip that much more effective.
“The first group paved the way for us, because when they got there, they didn’t know what to expect,” Turner said. “They built the processes for us and we’ll be there to follow it through, no matter the conditions we’re working in.”
“I’m excited to see the residents’ faces when their power is restored,” said Sean Hoffman, safety specialist.. “They’ve been out of power for nearly five months, so we’re excited to help them get back to living a normal life.”
Overhead Supervisor Chris Cabanillas shared in Hoffman’s excitement, adding his anticipation for what to expect in this experience.
“I’m nervous and excited all at the same time because it’s something out of the norm, but the rewards will be great,” said Cabanillas. “It’ll be amazing when the residents come out and greet us after their power is restored.”
This trip holds special meaning for DTE employee Monica Orengo-Irizarry, a native of Puerto Rico who moved to Michigan 10 years ago after the energy company recruited her while she was a student at Puerto Rico’s top engineering school, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. When hearing of this trip, she immediately volunteered to participate.
“Puerto Rico is my home country, and I have family there,” said Orengo-Irizarry. “After seeing the devastation, Puerto Ricans everywhere want to help in whatever way we can, whether it be financially or by giving of our time.”
One thing she’s looking forward to the most? Reconnecting with loved ones while serving her community. “I’m so excited! My parents aren’t too far from where we will be – my parents are very proud,“ said Orengo-Irizarry. “I’m very grateful to DTE Energy, and it makes me proud to work for a company that supports efforts like this.”
Want to show your support for the DTE team in their efforts to empower the island of Puerto Rico? Visit EmpoweringMichigan.com/poweringPR to follow our crews, their restoration efforts and to leave them well wishes.
For the McClaran family, Puerto Rico relief efforts have become a family affair. Check out the video below featuring brothers John and Jim McClaran, whose father, Bob, was part of the first relief team.
— DTE Energy (@DTE_Energy) March 4, 2018