Local Red Cross volunteers spend Thanksgiving helping in aftermath of Sandy

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PHOENIX -- On this Thanksgiving, a handful of Arizona Red Cross volunteers from the Grand Canyon Chapter spent their holiday on the East Coast continuing to help in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

They’re away from their homes and families, but thankful nonetheless.

"When you see people who are suffering, and you look at your home in good shape and your family in good shape, you do count your blessings," said Vic Hencken, a Grand Canyon Chapter volunteer currently in New Jersey who spoke to 3TV by phone Thursday night.

The local Red Cross sent nearly 30 volunteers following the hurricane; about eight remain in New York and New Jersey. Chapter Communications Officer Trudy Thompson Rice just returned home from the disaster zone.

"It was devastating to see the overturned cars, the rubbish throughout the streets because of the flooding; whole apartment buildings dark," Thompson Rice described.

Volunteers scrambled to provide basic supplies to the neighborhoods hardest hit from food to clean up kits. Some of the Red Cross volunteers were victims of the storms themselves and had even lost homes but still showed up to help, said Thompson Rice.

"People are really, really resilient," she said. "It’s a universal human trait, but you kinda forget about it until you see it."

"You can start to see mending," said Hencken.

While much work and recovery remains, rebuilding has already started as the community pulls together, with help from neighbors, strangers and volunteers grateful for the chance to give.

"It’s getting better day by day, but there’s still a huge, huge need," said Thompson Rice. "The Red Cross will be there as long as needed."