Six months after Puerto Rico was hit by the one-two punch of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the U.S. territory is still in desperate need of repairs.
The storms caused more than $90 billion worth of damage and claimed at least 60 lives on the island.
But one local man is lending his hand to help Puerto Rico.
“You see debris and trees and power lines and poles, and just stuff everywhere,” said Brian Dixon, who helped with Puerto Rico relief efforts. “Roads were completely washed out; there were roads and lanes that had water that turned them into rivers.”
Dixon is the director of information security for local tech firm Link Technologies. After speaking with his friends living on the island, he knew he could lend his IT skills to help get some of the infrastructures back up and running there.
“I ended up helping re-build servers for local businesses; re-install and re-deploy switches and routers, replace network cabling for areas that had failures,” Dixon said.
Dixon was on the ground helping the people of Puerto Rico for 12 days. His company sponsored his trip, while friends helped him with his lodging.
According to Dixon, his time in Puerto Rico definitely put things into perspective for him.
“It also made me appreciate and not take for granted the things I would otherwise take for granted, like being able to turn the faucet on and get water,” Dixon said.
Dixon said he came to that realization when he saw a couple and their young daughter on the side of the road.
“It took me a minute to realize what they were doing, but they had water jugs, and they were collecting drinking water out of a runoff that comes out of the side of a mountain on the side of a highway,” Dixon said. “It’s something I’ll never forget; that little girl with her family, just having to witness that, or go through that.”
A half a year has passed since those storms rocked the island, but Dixon says he plans to return to Puerto Rico in May or June to lend a hand wherever he’s needed.
“My goal is to go back and spend a couple of weeks, and work in some of the harder-hit areas towards the center of the island that maybe didn’t get the level or type of support they needed the first time around,” said Dixon.