WACO, Texas — When disaster strikes, the Salvation Army will be there but now this world-renowned charity needs help as they face a shortage of volunteers.
Wayne Branscum of Woodway has a remarkable 50 years of experience volunteering for the Salvation Army all over the world.
Branscum tells 25 News he "deployed overseas and Haiti," along with Mexico. "I'm on Facebook with many of the people I've come in contact with over the years."
Branscum has been a ray of light for countless lives in their darkest hours.
"It's heartwarming," he said, adding that it breaks his heart that he can't do it any longer.
He is not alone.
The Salvation Army's volunteer core is aging.
Diana Barrett represents the Waco office.
"Serving in this capacity going to these hurricanes and disaster areas is physically demanding," Barrett said.
The Waco office typically has three volunteers ready to deploy to a catastrophe like Hurricane Ida, where the effects are long-lasting.
"We don't just go for the main event," Barrett said. "We actually end up staying for the long term."
With Hurricane Nicholas hitting Texas just two weeks after Ida hit Louisiana, there is a crucial need for volunteers to provide food, fresh water, the supplies to rebuild, and so much more.
They typically serve two weeks at a time before being relieved.
"Facing the disaster head on," Branscum said. "We never know what we're getting into until we get there whether it's flooding or disaster from a tornado."
Many of the people he has worked alongside and those he has helped have become like family.
Branscum was in Panama City, "when a young lady walked up to me and told me her mother had been crying and I asked her why and she said 'because we didn't have any food.' Heartbreak. I said, 'young lady, we've got food."
If you are interested in volunteering, the Salvation Army needs volunteers to serve food and help survivors with emotional and spiritual support.
To go through the volunteer screening process, go to thier website.
You can also call the nearest Salvation Army location near you.