Local search and rescue team helps neighbors after Irma

By  | 

OCALA, Fla -- As people in Marion County begin to recover from Irma, one group of volunteers is checking on their neighbors.

James Mahaffey worked this remembrance day. He's the medical team leader for the Marion County Search and Rescue Team.

"I was at 9/11 two days after the towers had fallen down for confined space search and rescue," Mahaffey said.

Now he's rescuing his neighbors in Marion County from Irma.

"This morning we've done some water rescues."

The team is made up of local volunteers who donate their time, expertise, and equipment. Most of the members are search and rescue technicians with structural collapse training.

They hit the road Monday and answered calls for help from wellness checks to health checks and home checks.

TV20 drove around with some of the volunteers Monday while they checked on RV and mobile home parks to see if any trees had fallen down on top of homes. They also checked to see that everyone inside was ok.

There were no major rescues during the ride-along, but for the team; striking out is lucking out.

"Sometimes there's no need for us to do anything and for us that's just as good as being able to do some good knowing that everything is ok and the situation was ok to begin with," said Steven Claytor, a volunteer.

"We don't do this for money. This is just what we love to do. We love the excitement. We like the thrill and saving peoples lives... it's hard to explain what it makes you feel like inside once you've done it," Mahaffey said.

If you would like to volunteer or donate supplies to the team, visit www.marioncountysearchandrescue.com, or email Frank Marino at marioncountysearchandrescue@yahoo.com.