MIAMI (CBSMiami) –Crews from Miami Beach Police Department returned home Thursday night after five days helping Hurricane Michael survivors in the panhandle.
They were greeted with hugs, laughs and handshakes from local officers and chiefs.
They even shared some of their heartbreaking encounters with those who survived the storm.
Officer Kevin Millan explained how respondents, alongside Panama City police, to a call about a Russian couple whose home was decimated by the storm.
“Their roof was blown off in three different rooms, they have squirrels jumping around the rafters, and a lot of water damage inside,” he said.
With be help of a Russian translator, law enforcement was able to help them make phone calls and find somewhere else to live.
That was something Millan said he would never forget.
“That’ll probably be one of the moments I’ll remember the most,” he said.
Crews were gone for about five days. They left on Sunday and made their way up to the Florida Panhandle.
They were one of many groups of first responders that went to help with relief efforts following the devastation of Hurricane Michael.
Up until Thursday night, CBS4 tracked their journey and rescue efforts on the Miami Beach PD Twitter page.
Smiling faces can be seen as officers handed out teddy bears to kids.
Other photos show animals being rescued and inspiring images, such as a father-son team working together, assisting relief workers.
“We consider it a privilege and it feels great as an organization that we were able to help,” said Miami Beach Chief of Police Daniel Oates.
According to Oates, the 41 men and women from MBPD worked side-by-side with Panama City Police, giving them a chance to go home and spend time with their families as everyone worked 14 to 20 hour shifts.
“It’s the kind of help that we would want if we had suffered a similar disaster, so we feel very gratified to do it,” said Oates.
Those crews are making their way home on Thursday.
Meanwhile, deputies from the Broward Sheriff’s Office are heading north.
CBS4 was there as BSO crews packed up their trucks and hit the road ahead of the long journey.
It’s one that Broward Sheriff Scott Israel says is well worth it.
“Everything is recapturable but your health and your life,” he said.