Local tree supply company sends crew to Puerto Rico to help with cleanup

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It's been nearly nine months since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, causing massive destruction on the island. Thousands still do not have power.

And while there might be nearly 1,500 miles between Sherrill Tree, an arborist supply company here in Greensboro, and Puerto Rico, that did not stop the company from trying to help out. Notch, a part of the company, sponsored nearly a dozen workers to fly down and help with limbs and trees.

Tom Vasiliauskas is part of the team in Greensboro.

"We were just chomping at the bit so to speak to get down there and to help the folks in Puerto Rico," he said.

Notch sponsored 11 guys, including arborists, to fly down there. Five of them are from Greensboro.

"It's been really, really interesting that a lot of these areas, botanical gardens, city parks, haven't really seen the storm cleanup that they need," Carson Royer said.

Royer is on the Notch media team. He's been down there helping since Sunday. He says some of the areas they've worked on have been a safety issue.

"Big dead limbs hanging in trees, big dead trees that could fall down at any moment, and we're talking right over a sidewalk someone would walk down in a city park," Royer said.

They're trying to get done as much as they can before another storm hits.

"So we want to be proactive and remove some of these limbs before something catastrophic happens," Vasiliauskas said.

It's been a lot of work for the crew, and even the planning leading up to the trip took months, but it seems they all agree, they feel lucky.

"We feel really blessed that we're given the opportunity to really go down there and help the local community," Vasiliauskas said.

The crew should be back in the states on Sunday. This was the first time the company has done a service project like this but Sherrill Tree says they're already looking ahead to plan another service trip.