KNOXVILLE - East Tennessee nonprofit Remote Area Medical is traveling to the British Virgin Islands to help victims of Hurricane Irma.
RAM's founder Stan Brock sat co-pilot as the organization's plane took off Thursday evening from the TAC Air runway at McGhee Tyson Airport.
The organization is using the community's support to carry them to those who lost everything in the storm.
There are supplies in every box, and passion in every one of the RAM volunteer's hearts.
"People have been sending in supplies at a rapid rate," said Brock.
"We're going down to see exactly what kind of needs they have," said RAM Chief Medical Director Dr. Chris Sawyer.
Sawyer and Brock are packing food and medical supplies to help Hurricane Irma victims.
"Now what am I going to see down there? I don't know," said Sawyer. "But I'm taking my own medical supplies in case I do have to see some cases. I think we're prepared for most anything."
They're the scout team, a smaller group to prepare the way for more volunteers.
"FEMA and the U.S. Military are, of course, down there looking after the American Virgin Islands," said Brock. "So, we thought hey, we'll focus on Tortola and the Dutch island of St. Martin for the time being."
One of the biggest needs is water.
"I've never seen better," said Sawyer, referring to the water filtration systems they're taking with them. "If you have dirty water, spread of cholora, e.coli, diseases, that only compounds things. So that's a crucial part of our treatment."
The trip won't always be the most comfortable, but Sawyer and Brock say the community drives them to help.
"We do not ask the government for any money, so this is all funded by those $5 and $10 checks from the general public, and we're very grateful for that," said Brock.
"Everybody in their own little way has been phenomenal, and it takes that support for RAM," said Sawyer.
To donate to RAM, click here.
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