Dusting and zipping up gear in his truck, Grassy Fork firefighter Carson Cross is getting ready for a big challenge-- a challenge far away from his Cocke County home.
"I mean we want to help our brothers and sisters," Cross said Wednesday. He is one of six firefighters from Grassy Fork and Cosby that are planning to go to Hancock County, Miss., to help with relief efforts following Tropical Storm Isaac. He said the main goal is to assist the local fire departments in the area.
"Since Katrina, about 1/3 of the population (in that area) has come back. So, they need guys, and firefighters from all over the United States come down to this department," Cross added.
Several East Tennessee area groups are also preparing to go to the Gulf. The Knox County Association of Baptists has a team of people who respond to several regional disasters.
They're waiting for word if they'll go to south from FEMA and Red Cross.
"We go in and pump out water in the area, we help put roofs on," said Tom Freels, a member of the organization. He usually finds out if he would help two to three weeks after a disaster.
"We have a disaster rebuilt trailer, we have a chainsaw trailer, a shower/laundry trailer, so it depends on which one they need," Freels added.
Meanwhile, firefighter Cross said he will be ready on Friday.
"Stay for a week, two weeks, to help out anyway they can," Cross said.
He said the department is still looking for assistance from people with first aid or a firefighter's background who want to go to Mississippi, as well as financial support from the trip. If you would like to help, call 423-608-8765.