ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP) — Gov. Larry Hogan is sending 100 soldiers from the Maryland National Guard to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Hogan said Monday they will help with ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma at the request of Gov. Kenneth Mapp, who is governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“These are American citizens that really need our help and a lot were there for us when we were in a time of need and we just think it’s the right thing to do,” Gov. Hogan said.
Members of the 200th Military Police Company from Catonsville will be deployed for up to 30 days to help with local law enforcement and to guard infrastructure.
“We really appreciate it. We love the fact that they are here, they are thinking about us and they’re doing all they can,” said Ingrid Francis of St. Croix.
One Maryland woman says it’s been weeks since she’s heard from her father who lives in St. Thomas. She says it really is a case of no news being good news.
“He’s 80 years old. He’s blind. Luckily, he has someone there but just knowing that I can’t just pick up the phone to call him is a bit disheartening,” said Dr. Grace Henry of Beltsville, who was born and raised on the Virgin Islands.
She says right now help is more than just about the brick-and-mortar.
“The psychological impact of seeing that the Virgin Islands isn’t necessarily on the news and so seeing the National Guard and other military coming in will signal to them that people still remember,” she said.
Dr. Henry says she plans on getting to St. Thomas in February. She’s hopeful she’ll hear from her father sometime before then.
Hogan also has authorized members of the 729th Quartermaster Composite Supply Company to help water purification efforts in Puerto Rico. Two systems being used by the company can purify 1,200 gallons of water an hour.
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