COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A police officer from Puerto Rico who helped to save nearly 40 lives in a rescue mission after Hurricane Maria was finally given some overdue recognition for his heroic acts of service.
That honor came Saturday during the Latin Festival in downtown Columbia when Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott recognized Javier Figueroa.
Figueroa is a pilot with the United Forces for Rapid Response in Puerto Rico.
Just two days after Hurricane Maria hit the island, Figueroa and his flight crew started to survey the damage when they came across a flooded neighborhood. This survey mission turned rescue mission as the crew landed the helicopter on the roofs of homes and began flying people to safety.
Figueroa and his crew are credited with saving 39 lives that day.