A heroic homecoming: FPL crews return after spending months restoring power in Puerto Rico

Homecoming fit for heroes: FPL crews return after months restoring power in Puerto Rico (WPEC)

Over 100 Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) lineworkers, management and support staff are back home after working for months to bring power back in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

The crews arrived at Palm Beach International Airport Tuesday afternoon to a welcome fit for heroes. Family and friends were there for the happy homecoming.

For some, it’s the first time kissing and hugging their loved ones in 90 days.

“There’s nothing better than like holding them, beginning to feel them,” FPL worker Abel Hernandez said.

This mission hits home for him. He has strong ties to the island, and said he felt a responsibility to help all survivors get the lights back on.

“We’re all one blood," Hernandez said. "Doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, Spanish, Chinese. Doesn’t matter. What we did over there, we were one."

Matthew Morrison, a father of three from West Palm Beach, was on the ground fixing downed lines and restoring power every day. Almost 90 percent of customers have electricity and these FPL workers have a lot to do with it.

“Being out of power for seven months for some of these people," fellow FPL worker Matthew Morrison. "I was expecting more anger. But there wasn’t a lot of anger, just appreciation more than anything else."

Their hard work hasn't gone unnoticed.

“Every time you would restore power in the community, everyone would come out, some of them would chant, 'FPL, FPL!'” Morrison said.

The men and women were greeted by FPL CEO Eric Silagy and Gov. Rick Scott. They personally thanked the employees after their flight landed.

Scott presented them with a proclamation for the job they did.

“We are a welcoming state and we help every other people every time we can," Scott said. "We do it after every disaster, and you did it with a disaster not even in our state."

The workers will stay at home for a few days to get some much-needed rest and spend time with family before heading back to work.

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