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Volunteer from Elkhorn calls on community to continue supporting Hawaii after devastating wildfires

Posted at 6:42 PM, Sep 13, 2023

ELKHORN, Neb (KMTV) — Last month Heidi Briggs stepped onto a plane to Hawaii.

She was one of approximately a dozen volunteers from Nebraska who put their lives on hold to help Hawaiian communities devastated by wildfires

On Tuesday, after weeks of work, Heidi returned to her home in Elkhorn.

“I like to say I got all of my tears out yesterday but I knew that’s not the truth. It’s really hard and it will be that way for a while,” said Briggs.

For the last month, Heidi has spent nearly every minute of every day doing what she can to help the families displaced by the historic fires.

She and other volunteers helped people find places to sleep after their homes were burned to the ground, food and medical supplies for those in need, and a shoulder to cry on for those who lost loved ones in the disaster.

“You are non-stop. It’s not like a ten or eight-hour day; you are going all the time and when you aren’t going you want to be going. It keeps you from sleeping cause you think of things you need or want to do to help,” said Briggs.

While Heidi has returned home she will be the first to tell you that the need for donations and volunteers is still great.

Any help is welcome but financial donations to the Red Cross offer the most flexibility for aid organizations to get help to where it’s needed most.

“It’s gonna take a long time, not a couple of months, several years probably. It's a lot of devastation,” said Briggs

For Heidi her life will forever be linked to the communities of Maui. She found new family among the folks she helped and she said she hopes to return to offer more help soon.

“When I was there helping families, they said you are now a part of our family. That just, I am gonna try not to cry but so many of those stories I'll have relationships the rest of my life. I look forward to getting over there, back real soon, because there is a lot of unfinished stuff that needs to be done,” said Briggs.

If you are interested in donating to help communities affected by the wildfires you can find more information on

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