Virginia volunteers respond to help in US Virgin Islands

The volunteers just got their assignments Wednesday at the Red Cross Disaster Operation Coordination Center in Fairfax, Va.

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA - The volunteers just got their assignments Wednesday at the Red Cross Disaster Operation Coordination Center in Fairfax, Va. 

They'll be on flights bound for the U.S. Virgin Islands at around 8 a.m. Thursday. This means they got a less than 24-hours notice to get ready for a three week assignment to help Irma's Caribbean victims.

Who's all going? Right now, three volunteers.

"I'm a little nervous because it be my first deployment," said 34-year-old Walter Reed volunteer, Alison Kirby. She tells us she works in the restaurant business during the day and had signed-up online to volunteer after Harvey.

RELATED: Local volunteers with the region's American Red Cross head south to provide relief

"Nope," said 65-year-old Retired Navy Senior Chief, Wes Ray. This is his first time on a deployment like this. Only for him, there's a difference: let's put it this way, he goes by 15 out of 16 online.

"You know I grew up in a very large family so I know what I know what it means to not have," said Ray, who then paused.

"So it just touches my heart. I can't sit by and not help somebody not do, you know, to survive this thing," he continued.

Ray says they'll be working on making sure people have shelter and access to food -- help victims get the essentials they need to get back on their feet. 

The Red Cross is coordinating with FEMA in the Irma-devastated areas.

"We have told them don't expect any comfort once you get off the plane. No electricity, limited water, you're going to be in a staff shelter," said Paul Carden, a Red Cross Spokesperson who was down in Texas for Harvey help.

"Texas got hit but within a few days, the lights were back on and the water was running in most of the community so it -- they're going to be in a much worse situation."

Hurricane Irma killed at least 37 in the Caribbean, according to CBS News, which is also reporting the Island of St. John has been decimated.

"I just wanted to do something. I think a lot of people get this urge to do something and then I got the email asking, 'Would you do something?' And so I'm lucky to be able to go," said Kirby. 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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