Nebraska Task Force One returns home after lending hand in Puerto Rico

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Nebraska Task Force One returned home Sunday after helping down in Puerto Rico.

The territory had been devastated by Hurricane Fiona, which hit the island on Sept. 18.

While on the island, team members performed search and rescue missions, while dealing with mudslides and flooded areas.

The team was supposed to be there for 14 days but finished the mission about seven days early.

Capt. Dan Ripley, leader of Nebraska Task Force One, said the team made a difference there.

“Just simply seeing someone that was in their time of need and them seeing us really made an impact,” he said. “So there’s some pretty neat stories that came from this that our task force members will remember and it keeps them motivated to go onto the next opportunity.”

That next opportunity may be fast approaching.

Hurricane Ian is forecast to become a major hurricane before potentially plowing into the west coast of Florida.

“Our job is to be ready at a moment’s notice, and that’s what you’re seeing today,” Ripley said.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm is forecast to bring a “life-threatening storm surge” from Fort Myers to the Tampa Bay region beginning as early as Wednesday.

The city of Tampa Bay has already started issuing evacuation orders.

Back in Nebraska, the task force is ready to go lend a hand if and when the Federal Emergency Management Agency calls.

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