Nine D.C. police officers and their Sergeant are heading to aid in rescue relief in Puerto Rico, but this is far more than an assignment, this is a mission of the heart.
Most of the officers lived and worked on the island and many are still waiting to hear if their loved ones are safe.
“Estamos aqui para ayudar,” said Sergeant Raul Mendez.
We are here to help – that was his message to Puerto Rico’s Superintendent. Though he and many on his team are desperate to hear from family.
“I got a phone call I wasn’t expecting,” said Officer Angel Figueroa, “it was my son, so I wiped my tears for a second and got back to the mission.”
Their mission is not only to deliver supplies and assist the Puerto Rican State Police but to give back; helping their neighbors, their family members, and their native land.
“We became police officers there and now we’re going back to help,” said Officer Jose Gonzalez choking up, “it means a lot.”
Fifteen years ago, eight of the officers left their homeland to join the MPD, including Officer Vimary Serrano and her husband Officer Angel Ortiz.
“To have her by my side and her to have me by her side that’s what will give us strength to deal with this situation,” he said.
Officer Confessor Martinez said, “Our experience and our commitment to help people - that’s going to the balance between emotion and mission.”
“To put their own security and comfort at risk to help others, I couldn’t’ be more proud of these guys,” said Chief Peter Newsham.
The 10 officers leave Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. from Andrews Air Force Base. They will bring supplies plus satellite phones as back up communication. They say they will stay as long as they’re needed.