Four members of the South Dakota Army National Guard have been activated to assist Puerto Rico with recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The soldiers from the Watertown based unit will be providing water distribution to those in need. The four soldiers left for Puerto Rico Sunday morning and could be deployed for up to 45 days.

Recovery efforts are especially personal for Spc. Jorge Morales. Morales lives in Clark, SD, but is originally from is from Ceiba, Puerto Rico. Much of his family is still there. 

“I didn’t think twice – I just said I’ll go,” Morales said. “It’s more than an honor. To help my people is something big.”

This is the first request South Dakota has received through the emergency compact to help with hurricane recovery efforts.

The soldiers are members of the National Guard’s Company A, 139th Brigade Support Battalion.