Family mourns father who died while helping restore power to Puerto Rico

Thomas Primero

"Very sad, but he passed away doing something that he loved," said Christina Primero.

In December of last year, Christina’s father, Thomas Primero, deployed with a team to Puerto Rico to help restore power to thousands still in the dark after Hurricane Maria.

His daughters say what he saw there, months after the storm hit, was still severe.

"Cars and flooding and water and a lot of blocked roads and the street lights weren't working so there was a lot of devastation still but the people were very grateful,” explained Christina.

Stephanie Primero added, "they'd come out and hadn't had power for month and they'd be offering food and want to have a cookout for them and it was just really great."

Primero's daughters say the retired 74-year-old had 50 years of service as an electrical worker and felt it was his duty to help.

Sadly, exactly three months to the day he deployed, Primero died of a heart attack.

When his family flew out to retrieve his body last week, they say their welcome was overwhelming.

"They had bucket trucks out front with the American flag and 200 people in yellow safety vests stood up to greet us."

And they say even more came out to mourn Primero and support his family at his services back home.

"We had probably a thousand people come through that line last night from National Grid and Niagara Mohawk."

His daughters say Primero's passing is bittersweet.

They're grieving the loss of their father, but they say they take comfort and pride knowing he was bringing aid to people who so desperately need it.

"You know, if he knew that he could help somebody, that's where he felt valued, that's where he felt his purpose, and we're just happy that if he had to go this way, it's okay."

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