CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- It’s been four months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. An estimated 450,000 residents are still without power.
Electric companies from across the country have deployed to the island to help, including right here in Hampton Roads. This month Dominion Energy sent 82 employees to Puerto Rico.
Arron Liles of Chesapeake is one of them.
“He came home and we discussed it as a family because he would be away for some time and we never have been away from each other before, but ultimately, he would be down there helping everybody and it was just a good decision for us to make,” said Arron’s wife Lisa Liles.
Lisa and her sons, Evan and Ben, say they couldn’t be more proud of their father, who will be in Puerto Rico for about a month.
“He’s making people happy by giving them power back on, I’m very proud of him,” said 9-year-old Evan.
The employees are deep in the mountains, trying to repair 90 broken power poles.
“He knew what to expect when he got there, but to see it first-hand he was surprised to see the amount of things that were still broken,” said Lisa.
Dominion says the terrain they are working in is so remote they can't even use their trucks, which means carrying tools and equipment, as much as 50 pounds, up steep hills.
“So many of those poles will have to be climbed by Lisa’s husband and many others so they are able to get up there and repair it, so the people of Puerto Rico can get back to modern day living,” said Bonita Billingsley Harris, spokesperson for Dominion Energy.
Harris said it will be the most challenging work many of these employees will ever encounter and they all volunteered to do it.
“They know that we can’t live without electricity at this day and time, it’s something we all just take for granted, and to know so many people have been suffering for so long we are just grateful that so many families will allow their loved ones to go to Puerto Rico and help out,” said Harris.
The boys say they miss their dad but they’re glad he made the trip.
“He’s working hard and I love him,” said 6-year-old Ben.