SHERMAN OAKS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- It was an emotional reunion Monday night for members of the Los Angeles Fire Department who were back from their mission to help victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Family and friends at Station 88 in Sherman Oaks eagerly awaited the arrival of more than 70 local heroes from the California Taskforce and greeted them with many hugs, cheers and kisses. It was well-deserved love after rescuing more than 40 people in the Houston area, along with numerous pets and livestock.
The task force was deployed for 24 days, making it the longest deployment for a FEMA mission.
For rescue specialist Matt Stratton, it was his first deployment.
"No one wants to see all the damage that occurs there, but just being there to be able to help, be a part of it, was an experience of a lifetime," he said.
Instead of coming home after Harvey, the team drove to Florida to help victims of Irma.
Upon arriving in one community, a state trooper told them they were the first to respond.
"That really meant a lot. I mean, just to see the emotion on their face to how grateful they were, how gracious they were in their time of need really made it all well worth it," said medical specialist Steve Marquez.
With Hurricane Maria barreling through the Eastern Caribbean, there's a possibility the team could be headed back to the East Coast.
LAFD's local heroes return from helping hurricane victims