Coast Guard crew returns to St. Pete after helping Puerto Rico relief efforts

By Dalia Dangerfield, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, November 13, 2017, 6:33 PM EST

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard returned to St. Petersburg Monday afternoon after providing hurricane relief to residents in Puerto Rico. Family and friends welcomed the crew home.

  • Coast Guard cutter Venturous left St. Pete 2 months ago
  • Crew rebuilt generators, delivered water, food, and fuel
  • Crew also donated their personal items to help residents

"It’s amazing," said Coast Guard Electrician Ryan Steiger as he hugged his two toddlers. "These guys are my life."

The crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Venturous set sail from St. Petersburg more than two months ago. They were originally tasked with law enforcement patrol, but that mission changed after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.

Members of this Coast Guard crew rebuilt generators on the island while delivering thousands of gallons of water, food and fuel.

“It was heartbreaking,” Steiger said as he described the conditions in Puerto Rico. “There were a lot of places that were destroyed. Roads were not passable. It was just sad, but to be able to do everything the we possibly could to help out feels good.”

Captain Matthew Chong said he’s extremely proud of his crew. They not only delivered relief supplies, but they also gave up their own food and personal items to help the residents suffering in Puerto Rico.

“Most of us joined the Coast Guard for an opportunity to serve others in their time of need,” said Captain Chong. “I think we’ve done that more on this patrol than any other patrol that we’ve ever been on.”