Local volunteers welcomed back after spending two weeks helping hurricane victims


There was a warm welcome home for volunteers helping Hurricane Harvey victims in Houston.

Touching down after two weeks of relief efforts in Houston, six volunteers with the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, arrived to a hero's welcome home at the Albany International Airport.

Peter Catal says the devastation kicked in when they reached their first neighborhood.

To just see people's lives in front of their houses, whether it's furniture, it's children’s toys, it’s photographs, just mountains of debris. It was just overwhelming, it just makes you think about the little things," Catal said.

The group, calling itself “Albany's Angels,” spent two weeks canvassing neighborhoods, distributing supplies and loading trucks. They did anything that took some of the work off of officials, and to try to get displaced Texans back in their homes.

"It kind of put your problems into perspective. Anything I was stressing before I went down there seems inconsequential in hindsight," Catal said.

David Gabrielsen says the people in this group didn't know each other when they left, but cranking out 15-hour days for 14 days straight, brought them together.

"We were doing things well beyond the scope of our jobs, it's going to be very weird going back to the office tomorrow," Gabrielsen said.

Both say there are more lives and homes to clean up and rebuild, so once they're rested, they say they'd jump at the chance to go back.

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