SAN DIEGO -- A San Diego man arrived home from Puerto Rico Friday after surviving Hurricane Maria and helping others who were left homeless.
U.S. Navy veteran Armando Santiago makes an annual trip to see his extended family, all still living on the island.
Two weeks ago, as the hurricane rolled in, Santiago hunkered down, keeping watch over his elderly father.
"It's just so loud. Just howling the whole time. Constant noise. You can't hear yourself talking," Santiago said.
Maria brought lashing wind and rain to the island for longer than 30 hours, ripping huge trees from the roots and tossing them into the middle of the street.
When the storm cleared, everyone in his family made it out unhurt and with their homes intact -- but it wasn't easy.
"The stress level started rising because there was no communication, no electricity, no water, no anything," Santiago said. "Right after the storm, you cannot go 100 yards away from your property."
The storm left some homes untouched but others saw her full might. Santiago rushed to help those whose homes -- just feet from his -- were left with nothing.
"When they lose a home it's totally different from when we lose a home here. You have to start from square one," Santiago said.