Before Hurricane Sandy's full scope of devastation in New York and New Jersey was even known, 25 men and women from the Massachusetts State Police were on their way to assist those who had been displaced from their homes.
"When I reached out to ask if the state police would be willing to field a group of 25 people, I already knew the answer," Undersecretary for Homeland Security and Director of MEMA, Kurt Schwartz said in a press conference in Framingham Monday afternoon. "The answer was a resounding yes."
One of the troopers was Brian Dunn, who works out of the South Boston barracks.
"There's nothing that I can compare to what I saw down there," said the 28-year veteran of the force. "We were there when they came home for the first time. For some people, there was nothing more than a stairway to the basement and a hole in the ground."
Dunn said one thing he will always remember was the patriotism shown by those who were impacted.
"The families that were hurt the worst, those with nothing left, were the first people to hang up their flags," Dunn said.
Dunn was joined by Trooper Andrew Fox from the Lee Barracks. Fox has been with the department for 20 years and was recognized on the department's Facebook page.
"Thanks for taking time out of your lives to help us gather ours back together. [Fox] helped my husband hang the AMERICAN FLAG on what's left of our house," Kim Ford Diehl posted.
The commitment that the troopers made, Col. Timothy Alben said, is what makes him proud to lead the State Police.
"I talk all the time about the virtue of being difference-makers," he said. "This is exactly what I'm talking about."