VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - When we rolled up to the Virginia Beach Fire Training Center on Birdneck Road, it looked more like a housing development was being built with the guys working with concrete and metal.
But this is not a development project, and these are not construction workers.
They are specially trained rescue workers from all over the country taking part in training here at the Virginia Beach Fire Training Center. Most of these folks are on the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team, which includes members of VA Task Force Two.
And the VA team has been busy this year. In just a 6-week period of time, they were deployed three times for a period of 30 days for Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma.
Battalion Chief Tracy Freeman leads the team.
“Some of the folks here deployed on multiple hurricanes and were gone for almost 30 days so it was a long time very busy for the system. We haven’t seen anything like that since Katrina timeline," Freeman said.
After 23 years on the Team, Chris Fultz knows full well what it means when disaster strikes and the phone rings
“If you have young kids, kids in school, a wife, you dump everything in her lap and she has to schedule getting the kids to school getting them to after school events and things like that," he said.
It's because of those years of sacrifice and hard work that we want to honor these heroes.
“We definitely appreciate you at News 3 and in our community, so we’d like to give you a People Taking Action Award," News 3's Beverly Kidd told the group.
We also gave them a $300 gift card from our Community partner, Southern Bank. And in true hero fashion, the team decided to donate the $300 to the Red Cross.
“This is not an easy job. Why do you do this?" Kidd asked.
"Myself and my co-workers, we enjoy helping people.”
“Thank you very much, and thank you for your service. We appreciate that.”