Local volunteers en route to disaster zone

Local volunteers en route to disaster zone »Play Video
Boats and debris line the southbound lanes of Interstate-45 in Kemah, Texas, Sept. 13, 2008, after Hurricane Ike hit the area. ( AP Photo/Houston Chronicle/Eric Kayne )
SEA-TAC AIRPORT -- The destruction from Hurricane Ike is 2,000 miles away, but help from the Northwest is already on the way.

The American Red Cross says more than 40 volunteers from Western Washington are being sent to Texas to help with relief efforts, and more could follow in the coming weeks.

"I expect not to get much sleep," said Paul Easter, who works for and volunteers with the American Red Cross. He is bracing for several long weeks.

Easter is flying to the hurricane disaster zone, and he probably won't get back home until mid-October. Part of his mission is to set up communications and computer networks.

"We're the first ones in, the last ones to leave. We're wiring stuff up and then, when everybody is trickling out, we're turning off the lights and moving out," he said.

In the wake of Hurricane Ike, there are plenty of battered areas of Texas, and making sure people can talk with each other is essential. Just as it is for homeowners and residents to get the help they need.

"(We) take it really, really seriously. It's a matter of everyone doing their job... people will get the help that they need," Easter said."It's very humbling to see people who lose everything."

Federal Way-based relief organization World Vision is also preparing to ship supplies such as clothing, blankets and clean-up supplied from its warehouse in Kent to parts of Texas.