COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio has boots on the ground down south as Hurricane Ian’s wind and rain push in on Florida.

Ohio Task Force 1 sent members from central Ohio earlier this week. In addition, there is an Athens County man working with the American Red Cross there as well.

They said their missions are about offering support, however they can.

“We’re going to get hit with it, there’s no question about that,” said Fred Holmes, from Athens. He is currently in Plant City, Florida, buckling down and helping during Hurricane Ian.

He’ll be spending the next several days assisting at an evacuation shelter with the American Red Cross.

“I think a lot of our job is going to be to calm people down, reassure them that everything is going to be fine,” he said. “We need to be relaxed we need to be calm so they can be calm.”

Assistance is also coming from across the Buckeye state, including Ohio Task Force-1.

The team was pre-positioned in Alabama and hit the road Wednesday morning. Their destination: Central Florida.

“I think you always get a little anxiety, especially right before landfall happens because complacency is the enemy of what we do, so we want to make sure that we stay on top of everything,” said Task Force Leader Jack Reall, who’s from Sunbury.

Reall said Ohio Task Force 1 is anticipating high water and aiding in rescues on the coastline. Members are also trained to help out in other areas.

“Probably some building assessment, damage assessment type stuff for local communities, but it kind of goes in phases as the storm, the time from landfall, passes, but we’ll have plenty of work for quite a few days,” he said.

Holmes said he’s been to all types of disasters and that it’s rewarding work.

“I told one of my new volunteers, I said, ‘I’ve been on deployments where my reward has been a hug from a 6-year-old boy,’” Holmes said. “I said, ‘I hope you get that experience.’ That’s why we’re here. We’re here to bring some calm to a very, very scary and chaotic experience.”

Holmes said his mission with the American Red Cross is a two-week deployment, while Reall said Task Force 1 will stay where they are needed for as long as they are needed.

It’s thanks to the support at home that they’re able to do this type of work.

“We couldn’t do it without them and some of the funding that they provide, as well as the local communities that provide the first responders and personnel that can volunteer for this work,” Reall said. “And then obviously our families are the bigger part of that. They got to hold down the fort back home while we’re gone for two weeks or three weeks at a time for several times a year.”