Lynchburg area company returns home safe from Puerto Rico

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) After Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico a local company was shipped out to help. The team of over 100 people from Foster Fuels was sent to the power starved island in October. Friday, they returned home just in time for Christmas.

You really can't beat the level of anticipation inside an airport waiting room, but when the people are waiting for family they haven't seen in months….Well, some couldn't stand still.

When the plane filled with loved ones hit the ground, the family ran towards them. Stolen kisses through a security fence, kids giving their parents hugs that made up for months of missed time, a mother reunited with her two sons.

“I missed the m so much,” said Delphine Bryant. “They’re my heart.”

While the families missed their loved ones, they knew they were doing important work.

“There was no power on the island,” said Stephen Tibbs, Senior Vice President of Foster Fuels. “We were there to keep hospitals and critical infrastructure going.”

The people they encountered on the island and the destruction they saw has left a mark on the workers.

One man walked off the plane holding a giant seashell decoration.

“A woman walked up to me,” he explained. “She sort of unfurled this and said ‘this is all I’ve got’. I gave her $20….and she went to the grocery store.”

“It was rough,” said Richard Moore who had been gone since August, working in Texas as well. “It was hot, a lot of damage. But everyone was thankful for us being there and we made a big difference.”