By: Zach Driver, WECT General Assignment Reporter
Seahawk Aviation took to the skies on Sunday to give relief to those affected by Hurricane Irma in Florida.
The Wilmington-based aviation company took seven planes to the Sunshine State, and they plan to take more next week.
Ryan Evans, vice president of Seahawk, said the company was originally headed to the Keys, but then changed plans late last night.
“I got called about 5 in the evening after all the planes were loaded up,” Evans said. “They told me Key West was already inundated with a whole bunch of supplies.”
All of the volunteers unloaded the planes and put them into a Convoy of Hope truck. Many on the ground were affected by the hurricane themselves.
“I had a lot of trees down and lost some fences,” said Steve Ewing with Crossroads Alliance. “It took me about a day or two just to dig out, and my house is still kind of a wreck, but this is what we do. We try to rise to the occasion when called upon.”
Ewing said the entire day was a display of Americans helping Americans.
“We have been using the saying over the last few weeks, ‘Make Florida great again,'” he said. “So being a Floridian, I am grateful. Working in emergency management and a nonprofit organization, it makes us motivated because you know you have people around you and people that are going to support you and your efforts. For us, the supplies in the truck here, they are going to go directly to the people that need it most.”
Jeff Burns came to Florida from New Jersey. As an emergency management coordinator, he has worked during several disasters, including aiding with relief from Hurricane Katrina.
Burns said there was a common theme between everyone working toward the cause.
“The Carolinas have been through similar things like this, being along the East coast,” Burns said. “They know what it is like to receive help, so they like to give it back.”
The supplies will be distributed across the state by multiple groups.
Evans said he is looking into other ways to help, and he plans to return to Florida with more planes soon.
“I know all the people down there appreciate it,” he said. “This is going to be one of many, but for our first one, I think it went off pretty good.”