EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - A group of East Texas volunteers are on their way to Louisiana, to do what they can to help people and their pets escape the oncoming floodwaters of Tropical Storm Barry.
Members of the non-profit group Rescue the Universe were stocking up on supplies at Academy in Longview, as team leader and marine corps veteran Ryan Nichols and his team are prepared to help in any way possible during expected Louisiana flooding.
“We want to make sure that we save lives and get people out of harm’s ways and animals out of harm’s way,” he says.
As they did in the past during Hurricane Harvey, the group will join the Cajun Navy and work to get people and pets out of the flooding.
Harrison county firefighter Zack McVicar is going as well.
"This is a way that I can take my knowledge and take the skills that I've learned and help others as well in other communities," Zack says.
Nichols was inspired to start the non-profit organization from prior service experience.
“In the marine corps we worked four typhoons in Okinawa, Japan. I’ve worked Hurricanes Katrina, Rita , Ike, Harvey, Florence , Michael. It gives me the sense of purpose. This is why we do this for people that can’t get out,” Ryan says.
During Harvey and Florence they rescued pets and people, often working non-stop.
“We rescued a 6-week-old baby back in Hurricane Florence and got them out,” Nichols says.
He says why he takes the risk is simple.
"When you get somebody in the boat and get them out of a house and they tell you thank you, and they grab their animals, that's why we do this," says Ryan.
Nichols says his team will stay and help in the effected areas until federal help arrives , or until they are no longer needed.