Hurricane Sandy left a path of destruction all along the East Coast that has devastated the lives of many people. Homes were destroyed, roads were ruined and some lost loved ones.
People from all across the country headed to the East Coast, following the hurricane’s aftermath, to help those whose lives were impacted.
The Pacific Gas and Electric Company sent 267 workers to the East Coast to help with the relief effort.
The employees volunteered for the unique assignment, which included long shifts working in an unfamiliar environment and navigating downed trees and wires. Conditions went from bad to worse one week later as they endured snow and freezing temperatures in the region.
Despite the obstacles, PG&E electrical first responders—including overhead and underground maintenance and construction crews- determined the cause of an outage and/or damage and restored power to more than 23,000 customers in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. They replaced 200 spans of electric wire, 30 transformers, 30 utility poles, and also cut and pruned fallen trees.
One of those workers was Angel Ortiz, a supervisor from the company’s Cupertino yard. “We went there to do some maintenance work,” Ortiz said. “Our crew worked all over the place, cutting trees and repairing the subway system.”
Ortiz felt proud and honored to go to the East Coast because he is originally from New Jersey.
“I moved to San Jose in April of this year,” Ortiz said. “Going back there was emotional for me because there was a lot of devastation and because I am very familiar with the area. The experience was surreal because many of the areas that I knew were destroyed and deserted.”
Ortiz was also pleased with the hospitality that he and the other workers received when they arrived.
“People appreciated us being there to help out and thanked us in anyway that they could, whenever they could” Ortiz said. “Some made us food and other little things like that. We all made our best effort to stay energized to do the work that we were sent out there to do”.