FORT BLISS, Texas - (Nov. 2012 story)
Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy struck the eastern seaboard the area is still trying to regain its footing.
Imagine being deployed to a war zone for a year and getting ready to come back stateside only to learn that your home was devastated by a hurricane.
That's what happened to more than 100 soldiers from the Army's 668th Engineering Company who were detoured to Fort Bliss on Halloween night on their way home to New York from Afghanistan.
"We were told there was a hurricane about to hit and i wasn't able to get in touch with anyone," said Specialist Victor Antequera. He said he learned the extent of Sandy's wrath the next morning via the internet.
"When I signed on, the first thing that popped up was a hurricane hitting in New York," he said.
Antequera immediately called his mother.
"The storm wasn't the bad part," he said. "Her car was completely destroyed. She's on the fourth floor and hasn't had power for the week. But the -- what she told me was the bad part was the neighborhood. It's not the best neighborhood. I don't want to say there was a riot, but people were breaking into stores, robbing people, stabbing people for gas, and things like that."
The soldier is eager to get home to help the recovery efforts.
"I wanted to keep myself busy anyway, to be honest," Antequera said. "I contacted a friend in Staten Island and she's helping with volunteering. So that's pretty much what I'm doing when I get home. after I settle things with my mother and make sure she's good, that'll be my 12-hour a day, I guess."
And it looks like Antequera will have plenty to keep himself busy.
Now that the nor'easter is hitting the East Coast, there are reports of more outages and damage to the already-battered sections of New York and New Jersey.
(Nov. 2012 story)