U.S. troops in Honduras helped provide clean drinking to local communities hurt by flooding caused by a tropical storm that brought more than a week of rain.

The flooding from the tropical storm had a devastating impact on the area. Not only were homes ruined, but well water supplies were affected from the flood waters, making the water undrinkable, says Air Force Tech. Sgt. Shane Bolles, who deployed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, to serve as part of Joint Task Force Bravo.

Service members assigned to the task force recently completed a 10-day water filtration project in a community near La Paz. In just a few days time, the team was able to transform more than 2,500 gallons of undrinkable water into clean water available for the public in large containers known as “water buffaloes,” Bolles says.

The machine the team used relies on three filters that take out impurities at each stage and use a reverse osmosis system to bring the water back to its purest stage. “For every three gallons of unpotable water the machine pumps in, we are able to pump out one gallon of potable water,” explains Air Force Staff Sgt. Nick Luna, who also deployed from Dyess. “The water that was not able to be transformed into pure water then is released back into the water source.”

The service members instantly saw the impact the water team had on the community. “After the floods happened, the community had to have water trucked in at great expense to them,” Bolles says. “I see them coming here with a smile on their faces, knowing that for many of them their lives were destroyed by this flood. This small gesture means a lot to them.”

Not only does the clean water mean a lot to the people in the community, but it holds a special meaning for the team members who came to help. “You see them come with just about everything imaginable to fill up with water to take back to their homes,” says Tech. Sgt. Romano Cedillos, deployed from the Phoenix Air National Guard. “After being able to visit with them and seeing how their community was affected, I feel as if I have made an impact in their lives.”