Albany Firefighters join in hurricane relief -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Firefighters join in hurricane relief

September 12, 2005

Albany -- Two Albany firefighters leave Wednesday for thirty days working with FEMA in the Hurricane Katrina Disaster relief program. One is from New Orleans, the other was at the Twin Towers on 9-11.

Now both will get a chance to help in this disaster.

Senior firefighter Josh Bishop was born in New Orleans. So seeing the devastation from Hurricane Katrina and the levy breaks,Bishop hopes to go there and help. Bishop said "It's devastating. I was talking to my father the other day, and he sees a lot of places he took me as a child, and it's very emotional for him. That's another thing that drives me to go down there and help out."

Bishop and Van Gerber were picked by lottery to be the first Albany firefighters to join the relief effort through FEMA. They asked for firefighters from across the nation for service.

Gerber said "We're going there just to look for people who need to be helped." Gerber is a New York native, who volunteered on 9-11 to help in the rescue effort. Gerber said "Basically searching for any possible survivors and clearing the area."

Gerber and Bishop Wednesday go to Atlanta for training with FEMA. They don't know where or what they will be assigned to do in the Relief Efforts, but they know for 30 days they will be helping.

Gerber said "Anywhere people are hurt, people need help, I love to be there and help out."

 Bishop said "I'll do anything they need me to do out there. Anything to help, that's what I want to do."

Both Albany Firefighters will leave their wives and children for nearly a month, for the opportunity to help other families put their worlds back together following an historic natural disaster.

FEMA wanted six Albany firefighters to help in the following months with the relief effort, two at a time.

 So many firefighters volunteered for the job, that a lottery was held to pick the six.