WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Karl Pfister couldn't believe the images he was seeing on television.
"It's a huge catastrophe,” said Pfister. “I thought Haiti was going to be the biggest natural disaster I've ever seen."
Pfister helped with the relief efforts in Haiti and he's helping in Japan, too. He's one of several volunteers with the Eagles’ Wings Foundation. Pfister and his teammates have deployed to disasters like the earthquake in Haiti, the oil spill in the Gulf and Hurricane Katrina.
"I'm really excited to go,” he said. “It's a great rush to be able to go out there and help people."
One of the biggest ways they'll help is by bringing about a hundred specially-equipped cellular phones.
"They work in a completely disconnected environment: no cell phone towers, no internet," explained volunteer Matthew Campbell.
The phones use GPS and Bluetooth technology, similar to what you might have in your own phone. Their phones are linked to their equipment to allow them and trained disaster responders to assess and record the damage they find.
"We can go out and map all of the damage,” explained volunteer John Simion. “It would show up on a map: there are broken power lines here. There's flooding here. There's an explosion that happened here."
Sendai is believed to be the hardest hit area. Getting there will not be easy. Karl Pfister’s team left the Palm Beach International Airport on Sunday. They won't arrive in Japan until Thursday. That is the same day a second group of volunteers will leave to join them. They’ll spend about two weeks in the country. All are committed to doing whatever they can.
"We're here to help,” said Campbell. “That’s what the Eagles' Wings Foundation's main goal is: to help people."
All of the volunteers are certified by FEMA, but they’re not only helping out with technology. In Haiti, their eight-member team handed out more than 2,249,000 meals in eight days.
To learn more about the Eagles’ Wings Foundation, go to: www.eagleswingsfoundation.org
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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