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Maria evacuees welcomed in Omaha

Posted at 10:26 PM, Dec 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-10 23:26:04-05

Families arriving to Nebraska from Puerto Rico are being welcomed with open arms.

"The mood is kind of bittersweet, a little somber but we are giving them a sense of community and culture.”

“Just that sense of we are in that rebuilding phase."

Victoria Leuthold with Heartland United for Puerto Rico says at least 50 Puerto Ricans now live in Nebraska since escaping Maria’s devastation.

"I’m still not use to the cold, it's freezing here, but I have to get used to it because I am going to be living here.”

David Ortiz arrived a few short weeks ago after the roof was blown off his home.

"We’ve made round trips back and forth to the airport, we help meet and greet them with winter coats and clothing."

Families are now celebrating new beginnings.

"Anyone with relatives in need in Puerto Rico was doing everything to get them here out of the desperation they were in."

Although Ortiz says he's happy to be here, he still feels for others.

"I kind of feel bad for other people who didn't have a place to go, I wish they were able to come here too."

A gathering for people to get to know each other and network, Luethold says it's just the beginning.

"We are doing our best to triage them and help them rebuild their lives, we are in it for the long haul."