Red Cross, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, head to TX in respo - FOX Carolina 21

Red Cross, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, head to TX in response to Hurricane Harvey

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Residents wait at a high school gym before they are evacuated as the outer bands of Hurricane Harvey begin to make landfall. (Source: AP Images) Residents wait at a high school gym before they are evacuated as the outer bands of Hurricane Harvey begin to make landfall. (Source: AP Images)
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (FOX Carolina) -

Members of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team and the American Red Cross are headed to Texas to assist with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

The American Red Cross is "mobilizing hundreds of trained Red Cross disaster relief workers, truckloads of kitchen supplies as well as tens of thousands of ready-to-eat meals to support this response effort."

Trailers full of shelter supplies - enough to support thousands of people with blankets and cots - have already arrived in Texas.

Volunteers, like Bill Haynes, are zipped up in their red vests and ready to ship out first thing Monday morning.  

"It's a calling,” Haynes said.

A calling the Red Cross volunteer said he couldn't ignore. In fact, Haynes knew he was meant for this work back in 1996 when Hurricane Fran first made landfall.

Through the years, he said he's seen his fair share of flooding damage, but nothing can prepare him.

"You don't get used to it, you don't get hardened to it because its a new place every time,” Haynes said. “It is new faces, new hurt."

As he packs for Texas, faces from his past begin to pop into his head - faces of those who have lost everything.

"The shock that you see in people's face when they are told that their home is not there anymore,” Haynes said. “All of their belongings are gone, and they are looking for somebody to hug them and tell them that everything is going to be alright."

The volunteer said that's what he does. For some he's a hug after a day of tragedy, and for others he's someone to lean on. But for at least two weeks, Haynes will be bringing families to shelter. He’ll be giving them a bed, and fingers-crossed, some hope.

"Most of them have lost all and they don't know it yet,” he said. “They haven't been allowed to go back to their house, so we try to give them a place to grab a hold of and say: 'For right now I'm okay. I have a place to sleep, my family is going to be taken care of and we're going to have something to eat.'"

Haynes and dozens of others will be flying into Austin, the closest airport that's still operating. He said beyond that, he's not sure what to expect.

"A lot of wind damage. It's still raining so there are place that we can't go," Haynes said.

This time around, things are personal. He said it's his mission to make it to the Houston area to check on a friend of more than 50 years.

"It is my best friend since high school,” Haynes said. “I was keeping up with him on Facebook to make sure that he was okay until Friday and then all of our communication was lost. So I don't know how he is or even where he is."

Members of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team are offering emotional and spiritual care to those evacuees affected by the tragedy.

“Though we all anticipated the impact of Harvey, there’s no way to overstate the ferocity of a storm like this,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “We’re praying for those who have been devastated by the hurricane, and we’ll be there to offer the hope and comfort of Christ to those who are hurting.”

Related coverage: 

Harvey lashes Texas coast with high wind, torrential rain

Judge says 1 Harvey death confirmed in Rockport

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