HONOLULU (KHON2) — Six Red Cross volunteers from Hawaii are waiting to deploy to Florida, another arrived there before air travel was cut off.

Officials said sending Hawaii volunteers this far away is a rare occurrence.

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“Not just in the sense of we’re reaching all the way over across the country for this, it really is a manpower issue ever since COVID, of course,” said Matthew Wells, American Red Cross Pacific Islands Region communications director.

Tampa resident Carol Bouchard spent time in Hawaii growing up. She lives outside the evacuation zone, but her husband still spent the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 27 boarding up their windows.

“So he did that all day for me, he spent eight hours drilling holes in the house, putting up the plywood, covering the windows,” Bouchard said. “I kind of don’t feel as nervous as I did this morning, I kind of cried a few times, but I’m okay now.”

Matt Morgan is a Chaminade University graduate who now serves as the mayor of Longwood, Florida. Morgan declared a state of emergency on Tuesday and said the aloha spirit played a role throughout his preparation.

“Oh my god, brother, whether it’s this or my everyday life,” Morgan said.

“I was watching today, as I was helping fill other people’s sandbags, so was everybody else.”

Matt Morgan, Longwood City Mayor / Chaminade University graduate

“I was watching every car going over to the other car to help the other person out, either hold the bag or do the shoveling,” Morgan said.

As the Sunshine State hunkers down, the Aloha State is ready to help.

“It’s amazing to speak to some of these volunteers who just find that passion and understand that by helping the community, they’re helping themselves,” Wells said.

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“All my in-laws back there in Hawaii, if they’re watching this, please tell them I love them and we’ll be fine,” Morgan said. “Mom, dad, we’re going to be fine. I love you.”