Wisconsin groups ready to help in wake of Hurricane Irma

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- From the Caribbean, on to Florida, and into the rest of the American southeast, Hurricane Irma left much devastation behind.

A view in Coconut Grove, Fla., before and after Hurricane Irma.

Now, those, like disaster relief specialist Luong Huynh with the American Red Cross are preparing to move in.

"It can be tough ... but, you know, as somebody who's had plenty of the following experiences before ... honestly I packed in probably 2 hours or less," Huynh said to WEAU 13 News on Monday.

Huynh has been assigned to assist in the U.S. Virgin Islands – and is ready for anything.

"You know we're not sure exactly what conditions the roads are in, what condition communications lines are in. So, a lot of that stuff we'll see when we actually get there," Huynh said. “You know, you might be working in a shelter or helping distribute emergency supplies or helping with the planning on the operation - because of the limited number of resources and people that are there, you might get pulled to do something else the next day, if it's needed.

“It's just we utilize the folks that we have there will utilize what the expertise of the people that we have there."

Huynh’s three-week deployment tied to Hurricane Irma comes while many of his Red Cross colleagues are already deployed after another killer storm.

"We have so many thousands of volunteers committed to Hurricane Harvey already that to around the country find another 1,800 volunteers that are willing to fly down and then assist with Hurricane Irma is amazing to me.

Huynh is just one Wisconsinite getting ready to head out in the wake of Hurricane Irma. More than 2,500 Wisconsin National Guard troops were called to state active duty Monday and will be in Florida for as long as they are needed.

"We have rumors of going to Texas and that didn't happen, but now we're going to Florida, so I'm excited to go and help whoever needs help," Terrence Bass, a 19 Delta Cavalry Scout, said.

"You just have to be resilient and react to what's in front of you the best that you can. Do what you can to take care of what's right in front of you," Dan Clay with the HHC 32 Brigade said.

No matter what these outfits will experience, Huynh said his experience helps him for this deployment.

"You know, no matter what the disaster is – whether it's a hurricane, whether it's an earthquake or tornado, or even a local home fire –when people lose their home or they have their lives disrupted in some fashion, the situation might be different as to what caused it, but, you know what, those emotions are exactly the same," he said.