KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Some of the Red Cross volunteers return after almost two weeks of helping storm victims left out in the cold in Hurricane Sandy's aftermath.
As Hurricane Sandy made her way to the Northeastern U.S., Red Cross volunteers from across the country started preparing for her aftermath which resulted in lives lost, homes destroyed and weeks of power outages.
Knoxville resident and Red Cross volunteer James O'Hare spent the last two weeks helping storm victims.
"Majority of my assignment was on Long Island at the hardest hit places Long Beach, Lyndhurst, two cities that were flooded during Hurricane Sandy. They had about three feet of water over the entire area," said O'Hare.
O'Hare said the Red Cross sent 300 emergency response vehicles and thousands of volunteers to hard hit areas along the East Coast.
"The people had nothing to speak of. A lot of them lost primarily everything they had because the garages and first floor up to three or four feet were covered with water," said O'Hare.
As soon as some of the power came back on, he said a winter storm caused more outages and more frustration from the residents.
"We had a lot of people come up who were crying, very extremely upset," said O'Hare. "A lot of people had lived there 40 years and never seen this type of damage."
O'Hare said he worked 16 hours a day, sleeping on a cot on top of a fire house when possible. He said he's still tired but believes his efforts made a difference.
"We gave them a hug. We gave them hot food. We tried to console them to bring them out of the low place," said O'Hare.
He said most of the storm victims seemed very appreciative that the Red Cross was there to help.
Even though he's back home in Knoxville, the Red Cross is still in the storm-damaged areas. He said the Red Cross will be there as long as they are needed.
If you are interested in helping with the volunteer effort, visit the Red Cross website.