CT nonprofit heading to Texas for Harvey relief - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT nonprofit heading to Texas for Harvey relief

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A team from CT is headed to Texas to help in the relief efforts (WFSB) A team from CT is headed to Texas to help in the relief efforts (WFSB)
CORNWALL, CT (WFSB) -

While so many people are generously reaching into their wallets and pocketbooks to help with Harvey relief, some are even going further.

A Connecticut based team will actually head to Houston this weekend to help with the emergency response.

A five-man team from Operation Endeavor, a nonprofit, will take off for Texas to help in the relief effort.

They are led by Stu Hirsch, whose day job is at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury.

Once in Texas, they'll make their way to Houston and get to work.

Lawrence Smira, a former military medic with the Marine Corps who's now an EMT with the Cornwall Fire Department, is part of the team.

"He said ‘hey this hurricane just happened, would you be willing to go down to start with the relief work’ and without even knowing the scope of the incident or how bad it was going to get, it was an immediate yes,” Smira said.

Operation Endeavor provides emergency assistance and rescue training.

Hirsch, the director of Operations for Emergency Services at Saint Mary’s started the non-profit a few years ago.

For this trip, they’ll team up with crews that are already on the ground.

"We'll be working with them, pairing with them to augment what they're doing and also to be there for a resource for them because they've been going strong since last Friday,” Hirsch said.

That could include providing medical coverage or helping with water rescues. 

They've done a number of missions in the past, including trips to Haiti following Hurricane Matthew last fall, where they treated more than 600 people in roughly 36 hours.

"The guys working with us are guys with great skills, they either come from law enforcement background, medi-vac backgrounds, military backgrounds, so these are guys used to operating in variable situations with a high degree of confidence,” Hirsch said.

They're ready to help Houston however they can, and whatever is asked of them.

"Doing what they need, a lot of people want to help, but it’s not helping if you're not doing what they need help with,” Smira said.

Hirsch and his team will be back in Connecticut late Monday, and it’s likely there will be other trips.

To make a donation to Operation Endeavor, click here.

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