Two dozen Massachusetts police officers boarded a plane to Puerto Rico Saturday evening, leaving the mainland to provide much-needed aid more than two weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
All 24 officers, who are the first of three deployments from Massachusetts, volunteered for the mission, and many have personal ties to the island.
Officer Izzy Marrero answered the call for volunteers without hesitation.
"This mission in particular is important and close to our hearts because we have family," he said. "We have the means."
"They need our help," said Lutenant Luis Cruiz.
Marrero told his fellow officers and reporters before a security check at Logan Airport, "My family says 'te amo bien. We're ok.'"
Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans said he didn't know what kind of lodging or conditions the officers could expect once they arrive on the island, speculating that they might be put up on a military boat.
"We are just hoping they come back safe and sound," the commissioner said.
As of Friday, about 90 percent of Puerto Rico is still without power, while the death toll has climbed to 36 since Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20.