Iowa Veteran Returns Home After Hurricane Relief Aid in Puerto Rico


Eric Reeves (WHO-HD)

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  It's been five days since Eric Reeves arrived back on the mainland, but he left his heart in Puerto Rico.

“I met lifetime friends down there, I truly did. From mainland veterans that I met, and even people I met down there,” he says.

Reeves and a team of fellow veterans spent three weeks helping the island recover from Hurricane Maria. A massive storm left more than half of the country still in the dark and without food and clean drinking water. The team gained national recognition as The Expendable, and the locals referred to them as heroes. Reeves says the title is humbling and unnecessary.

“We were just down there doing the right thing.”

On Tuesday, Puerto Rican leaders were back on Capitol Hill pleading for help from Congress as damage estimates from the storm are approaching $100 billion. Reeves did what he could to distribute goods through the country by using money out of his own pocket and taking to social media for help.

“Having people send $100 here, $100 there, $50 here, $25 there, it's overwhelming," he says.

In the midst of seeing the kindness from others, returning to his hometown in Essex was a tough decision.

“I just felt like I could be doing more.”


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