Since the devastating damages of Hurricanes Irma and Maria leveled parts of Puerto Rico in the fall of 2017, waves of DTE Energy line workers, mechanics, damage assessors, engineers and other support personnel have traveled to PR for mutual assistance efforts in hopes of restoring power to the U.S. territory. And while we’re immensely proud of the tireless efforts of these men and women, we want to recognize the spouses behind some of our crews in Puerto Rico whom are patiently waiting at home with hearts full of support. Here are some brief conversations with spouses of DTE Energy line workers.

What are some of the challenges with having a loved one in Puerto Rico?

Cell phone services is a big worry. Sometimes when you call there is an odd busy signal or the receiving phone seems to be dead. I found that if you called a little later the phone went through so have patience.  – Joan Byerly

Communication is difficult. The cell service is not the best, and you may only get a few minutes to speak with your loved one each day. I am up every day at 4:00 am to get maybe a minute to hear from my husband to tell him that I love him and to tell him to have a great day. – Nancy Buko

How does having a loved one doing this type of service make you feel?

We feel lucky and blessed to be a part of this project and commend the DTE Energy families that let their loved ones travel to Puerto Rico to assist others in such dire need of help.  I know I can speak on behalf of my husband that the work they are doing over there makes them feel proud to be DTE Energy employees! – Carrie McKissic

I watch the DTE Energy social media channels and Empowering Michigan blog site closely for updates. The photos and stories gives me comfort and excitement to see friends I know and a whole company coming together to bring this country from its knees to standing again and that is something to be proud of.  – Nancy Buko

What advice do you have for spouses that will have loved ones going to Puerto Rico for the first time?

Stay positive when they call home. I’ve found that if my husband’s home life is happy and safe he won’t worry. If your loved one can share photos or experiences be sure to share that with family back home to keep them updated.  – Nancy Buko

I would tell them to be thankful. The work can be hard but being part of this project is a great opportunity to give back to an area and communities that need serious help. – Carrie McKissic

My best advice is to talk to your husband daily, say your prayers for them and their safety and know that everything is going to be fine. And follow photos on the Empowering Michigan blog site! – Joan Byerly

Want to send well wishes or good luck to our crews in Puerto Rico? Click here.