CHANTILLY, Va. — After spending over a week helping people impacted by a deadly earthquake in Haiti, the Virginia Task Force 1 squad was greeted with signs and cheers by family members when returning home on Wednesday.
On August 15th, 65 members of the emergency crew left for Haiti after an earthquake killed over 2,000 people and destroyed numerous buildings and homes.
In the days that followed, the team searched through rubble and assessed damage.
"There are a lot of structures that were collapsed over there in different cities," said Captain Rob Clement of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue. "We went over there to try and help search for people and look for people under the rubble. If not, we went into humanitarian efforts.”
Members of Virginia Task Force 1 who spoke to WUSA 9 on Wednesday noted how the team saw the resilience of the Haitian people first-hand.
"I think a lot of times, personally, I take things for granted and get frustrated over things that seem important, like traffic," Tracey Reed said. "To go down and see what the Haitians live with and the resiliency, to be able to see what really matters and forgot about those trivial things is humbling and brings you back down to Earth.”
Buses for the squad pulled into the Task Force's facility on Wednesday night and were welcomed by crowds of family members.
Some held signs and others cheered as emergency crew members received hugs and warm welcomes from loved ones.
"It’s always great coming home after the mission and seeing the families here and smiling," Cpt. Clement said.
While plenty of work and recovery remains in Haiti, Virginia Task Force 1 members said they were glad they could help the people dealing with so much loss.
"It’s a great honor to be a part of it and be a part of US Aid and the county to help out," Clement said.