For the people of Canovanas, Puerto Rico, their troubles started even before Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Many of these residents have been surviving day-to-day without electricity ever since Hurricane Irma swept across the island on Sept. 5,  three weeks before Maria hit.

So when DTE Energy crews arrived in their mountainous neighborhood, they opened their doors and welcomed the help from Michigan. One mother and daughter cooked a traditional Puerto Rican lunch for the crews after she got her power restored.

“We love DTE! They have done wonderful work for us. They are like family,” said Madeline Cordero. “They have been asking if everything is OK. They are always taking care, house by house, inspecting everything. They did an amazing job.”

Miguel Tolentino, a community leader, says his neighborhood is a humble area with a lot of elderly residents, and the people are so appreciative of DTE’s assistance. Tolentino has worked closely with DTE engineer and Puerto Rican native Diego Libreros to make connections with the residents to explain what the crews are doing, why their roads might be  blocked by bucket trucks and how long the restoration will take.

Tolentino, who doesn’t speak English, spoke through Libreros to explain how much DTE has meant to his community:

“He can see the prompt service and dedication and the engagement that we have with the community,” Libreros said. “This is a very Christian community and they are thanking God for having us come here to help. They are very very appreciative of our efforts. Not only are we restoring power – we are restoring hope and faith.”

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