It's been a devastating week for millions as Superstorm Sandy wrecked havoc across the Northeast. Now, emergency crews from all across the country are helping to get residents affected by the hurricane back on their feet.
Union College's very own Disaster Response Team spent two days doing what they could to help. It's an experience one student says was life-changing.
The destruction left behind by Hurricane Sandy has captivated the country. Many of us can only imagine how bad it really is. But mMtthew Russell's eyes have seen the horrific damage up close and personal.
"These people were hurting," Russell said.
Russell, a senior at Union College, is a member of the school's Disaster Response Team. Along with 9 other students, he set out for the New Jersey shoreline on Tuesday.
Russell says they put in a lot of hard hours.
"We were trying to give them things they couldn't do themselves," Russell said. "We we're moving trees, giving them access to their homes so they could actually begin the recovery process. Sometimes, there would be 4 feet of rubble surrounding their house and downed trees all around and so, just doing our best to facilitate positive outcomes whenever we can."
After spending two days in the disaster-ridden state, Russell says the team was there to make a difference in the lives of those affected.
"The human element that comes in with these disasters lots of times gets missed," Russell said. "But these are people that are not dealing with a disaster, they're dealing with the disaster that's happening in their lives and it's happening right now."
And as the days go on, there's no question there's a lot of work left to do. As for Russell, he just hopes he helped to make life a little easier for someone on their road to recovery.
All of the Disaster Response Team's members are trained in swift water rescue and tactical rope rescue. If that wasn't enough, they're all EMT certified or certified paramedics.