Local man helps in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria

Posted at 5:33 PM, Jan 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-24 19:33:00-05

A natural resource specialist from Lucky Peak returns home Thursday, Jan. 25, after completing back-to-back assignments in Puerto Rico with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

It’s been 130 days since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, leaving more than three million residents without power, food or water.

“People’s homes are getting power, the streets are starting to get cleaned up and are more drivable, and the local governments are getting stood back up,” said Keith Hyde.

Hyde, a natural resources specialist from Lucky Peak, has spent the last 71 days organizing recovery operations on the island with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Just the scale of operations down here is pretty staggering,” Hyde said. “So, when you see these huge debris piles, when you think about the challenges of getting all the resources to Puerto Rico, all of the different missions that we have…just the scale is pretty staggering, pretty impressive.”

The corps says more than 2.4 million cubic yards of debris has been removed across 55 municipalities. They’ve also installed more than 15,000 poles, 1,100 miles of wire, and roughly 1,400 generators.

“Everyone’s focused on one mission — getting Puerto Rico back to normal as rapidly as possible,” Hyde said. “So, it’s really rewarding to be a part of a team like that.”

This isn’t Hyde’s first time helping in the aftermath of a natural disaster. He volunteered with restoration efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.