RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Local Red Cross volunteers came home this weekend after being deployed to the east coast to help with super storm Sandy relief efforts.
"It's one thing when you hear it, and it's another thing when you see the need first hand," Kevin Masters said.
Masters and several other Red Cross volunteers from Northern Nevada saw the devastation super storm Sandy caused for themselves.
"Everything was destroyed," Carol Parkhurst said. "There would be huge piles of garbage in the streets way over your head."
Some volunteers like Paige Shaw couldn't see the chaos going on around them.
"It was kind of surreal because we got to the shelter before the storm, and since we were in a block building we never really felt the storm," Shaw said.
But Shaw says she imagined what was going on when people came in wet, scared and glad to be inside.
"We had a lot of people from the Barrier Islands and their homes were basically destroyed and they held it together," Nancy Barrett said.
Barrett says she doesn't know if she could have keep calm - especially while being isolated in a shelter.
"We had very, very little information on what was going on outside," Barrett said. "We had no electricity, no cable TV for many, many days."
Masters says the demand for supplies in the streets and the shelters surprised him.
"At the high point we were making about 30 thousand meals a day," Masters said.
Many of the storm refugees left home with only the clothes on their backs.
"They were just glad to be alive," Parkhurst said. "Most of them were pretty optimistic about rebuilding and finding their lives again."
Because of that attitude, while the volunteers faced long hours and countless challenges, what they'll remember most is the people.