By Alicia Nieves

PUERTO RICO (CBS) — After working a full day to get to her family further inland we’re very happy to tell you that CBS 3’s Alicia Nieves has reconnected with her great-grandmother. She shares her story to give hope to others desperate to get in contact with their loved ones.

Puerto Rico is an island devastated and nearly decimated after Hurricane Maria hit it two weeks ago.

Nieves arrived Thursday to try and go to parts the parts of Puerto Rico that were hardest hit and reconnect some on the island with their loved ones back in the greater Philadelphia area.

We’ve done that and continue that mission again Saturday except this time, it was personal.

A CBS 3 photographer and Nieves headed to find her 95-year-old great-grandmother. The normally 45 minute drive in fact took two hours.

Roads weren’t blocked by fallen trees but street signs were knocked down. The pair had to stop three times for directions and even call Nieves’ family in New York on a satellite phone to get help.

“I worried this wasn’t going to happen,” she said.

Aid Flows To Puerto Rico But Many Still Lack Water And Food

But one left turn after that call and they were in front of her great-grandmother’s home.

With food and some supplies in hand she rushed to her faster than her camera could keep up.

“I felt like I could hardly breathe,” she said. “With that one hug and her smile, the stress for weeks I have been carrying went away. Once she told me she was okay I wanted her to be able to tell our family that herself.We had to go outside for the satellite phone to work- and for the first time in 11 days I could help my great-grandmother.”

For five minutes she stayed strong, and kept a smile on her face reassuring us that through God she is safe.

“I didn’t have to ask my great-grandmother how much that call meant to her. We could all tell by her face,” she said. “I got to spend a total of one hour with her and just before I left, I took a photo with her to forever cherish this moment, this opportunity to do my job here and at the same time make sure my family is safe.”


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Credit: CBS 3