Volunteers made their way home from east coast

Volunteers head back to Mid-South after helping on east coast

(WMC-TV) - Tennessee Task Force One is headed home to the Mid-South after spending more than eight days helping the northeast recover from Hurricane Sandy.

But the work in the northeast is far from over, especially with word of a new winter storm expected to hit the same area.

The 80 members of Tennessee Task Force One are ready for some rest and relaxation after working 12 hour days for more than one week in Long Beach, Long Island, one of the areas hit hard by the storm.

Team members say they were amazed by the resiliency and strength of the people they helped.

"It was amazing. How you would walk up and ask somebody, 'How you doing, is there anything we can do for you?' and the person always saying, 'Hey, don't worry about me. Go check on Mr. and Mrs Smith over here, they probably need more help than we do,'" explained Chief Michael Putt, Tennessee Task Force One.

In addition to being part of Tennessee Task Force One, Michael Putt is deputy chief of special operations for the Memphis Fire Department. Putt relayed the group's mission to Action News 5 by telephone just outside Knoxville, on his way home.

"For us, our mission was to make sure that the local government there had the information they needed in order to help the people," said Putt.

"Mostly what we did was, we went out and checked on people. Making sure they were alright, walked through the neighborhood. We checked for hazards, such as gas leaks, any septic areas that may have backed up into the neighborhood. We found people that needed help that originally could not leave or chose not to leave and because of the length of the devastation and getting help in there, they needed certain things," explained Putt.

Most of the group will likely make it back by Wednesday night. Though, thoughts of the people they are leaving behind come to mind as a Nor'easter heads to the areas they just left.

Forecasters warn of heavy wet snow, rain, high winds, frigid temperatures and more flooding.

"If they need us, they're gonna call us. And we're gonna go," said Putt.

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