JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Close to three dozen JEA utility workers returned to work today, after spending two weeks helping victims of Hurricane Sandy.
JEA Service Corrdinator Andy Yeager says he met thousands of people in need.
"They're in disparity. They have nowhere to turn. They've never been in a condition like this."
Yeager is one of 31 experienced electricians who volunteered to help. Two weeks ago they loaded their work trucks full of materials and drove 20 hours to the hardest hit areas in the northeast. He says they endured long days, harsh conditions and cramped quarters, often sleeping in bunk beds at a nearby shelter for boy scouts, or in their trucks.
While reports have surfaced of residents still without power attacking utility workers, Yeager says the JEA team experience was different.
"We never had a person come up to us to downgrade us or say anything. They treated us very well - gave us food, coffee and a place to warm up after being outside."
Even though the team is now back in Jacksonville, the work is far from over. A second team of 32 JEA employees departed Friday to replace them.
"There's probably a good week or two left of work up there."
To date, JEA has invested more than $800,000 to help with Sandy recovery through a mutual aid agreement. Northeast utility companies have agreed to reimburse that money in coming weeks.