Dozens of Spanish-speaking New Yorkers raised their hand when Mayor Eric Adams asked who would be willing to leave their city jobs and the comfort of their lives in the five boroughs to support recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Fiona punished the island’s fragile infrastructure.

José Torres, with the city’s Parks Department, helped with fallen and uprooted trees.

“It’s just a sad sight to see, but it’s also good to see how people welcome us, seeing that there are people coming to help them out,” Torres said. “We always look out for each other, whether it’s in New York City or here in Puerto Rico, there’s a brotherhood. The Orgullo is strong”

One of the people helped was his 86-year-old grandmother, whom he had not seen in years.

“It was a great moment because she gave me a big hug, because she has been without power for the whole time,” Torres added.

Also without power and clean water for weeks were thousands of residents whose homes sustained structural damage from ground movement. Some of them are now uninhabitable, according to Jason Rolon, a structural engineer with the Department of Buildings.

“A lot of these people lost everything they own, and they got together to help their neighbors,” Rollon said. “They were also trying to make sure that we were okay.”

One man he met in 2020 when he volunteered his time to assist in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, a Guayanilla resident, ran to his car to show him he still keeps the NYC hat Jason gave him back then.

“He started crying and to be completely honest, I almost did as well,” Rollon said. “They were so happy to see us and everywhere we go they welcome us with open arms, like seeing a family member.”

Julia Marinez de Martinez, Jason’s colleague at the city’s Department of Buildings agrees.

“Es llevar alegría a donde quiera que estemos,” she said — “it’s about bringing a sense of joy wherever we go.”

“They hug us and they start to cry,” Marinez de Martinez said. “It’s an honor. I am very proud of everybody, because we are here to serve our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico, because this is my country, too.”

Manny Martinez, an Iraqi war veteran and MMA fighter, said the work he’s doing to help on the island comes from deep within.

“An attachment that I have to be there for them and help them with everything they need and trying to push to get the job done,” Martinez said.

That’s also how José Otero, a member of the NYPD who has been all over the world with the U.S. Search and Rescue Team, sees it.

“Whether it is rescue, recovery, just assessing, emotional support which is a big one,” Otero said. “The fact that they see someone there who is willing to help in any capacity, the response has been just overwhelmingly positive.”

The team of municipal workers also shared with NY1 that they have taken something invaluable back home, that sense of resilience, patience and solidarity in the wake of a catastrophe that they say is uniquely Puerto Rican.