Milwaukee Co. Supervisor Ryan Clancy volunteering with Red Cross in Maui

NOW: Milwaukee Co. Supervisor Ryan Clancy volunteering with Red Cross in Maui

MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Twenty days after wildfires forever changed the landscape of a much-loved tourist spot, survivors in Lahaina, Hawaii have leaned on the Red Cross, and the Red Cross has relied on volunteers -- its volunteers from all over the country, like Milwaukee County Supervisor Ryan Clancy.

Supervisor Clancy's in his first week of a three-week deployment to Maui. He says being witness to it, and other disasters he's attended for the Red Cross, changes people. 

It's heart-wrenching work. Crews digging through rubble, hoping to find closure for families of the missing Aug. 8 Maui wildfire victims. 

"It's really hard to describe and to encapsulate the amount of loss here," said Clancy. 

Twenty days in, the land search has been called off. The number of missing is still roughly 300, with the Red Cross helping in many capacities. 

"This is actually the worst disaster that I've ever seen," said Supervisor Clancy.

He's on a team registering victims for services. 

"In some cases, we are the first third party, outside of their family and trusted friends, that they've had to describe the situation to," Clancy said. "It's a lot to take in, but many people have lost everything."

The Red Cross sent us photos of other volunteers. You see them offering up hugs and hope to people who've lost everything. Some 2,200 structures caught fire, most of them homes.

"The time passes really quickly. It really is filled with us meeting those basic needs, but also just listening and sitting down and hearing, you know, families and individual stories and just helping them through what is likely the worst time in their lives," said Supervisor Clancy.

Clancy and the other volunteers are staying in a gymnasium with some 200 mattresses on the floor, and they work 12-hour shifts. He says the Red Cross needs all the help they can get, especially now. 

"It is extremely difficult when we have multiple disasters happening at the same time. Right now, obviously, we're in Maui. There is a hurricane as we speak, headed to the Gulf Coast in Florida and we are getting stretched thin," Clancy said. 

The Red Cross is right there to help victims of widespread disasters, but also victims displaced in smaller numbers. 

"I think in everybody's life, you know, you have times where you're frustrated by things or you're not seeing progress at your job as fast as you'd like but being out here and being involved in a small way in a recovery effort, at the end of the day really does feel good," said Clancy.

If you're interested in signing up to help, click here

Supervisor Clancy says it's amazing to see volunteers coming together, each one doing a small part to help the much-loved community of Lahaina, Hawaii, on the island of Maui, survive. 

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