In the days after Hurricane Sandy, residents across the East Coast who were not majorly affected carried on, picking tree limbs out of their yards and emptying the bathtubs they had filled with water just in case the worst were to have happened.
Most people watched the news coverage, and some even donated money to the American Red Cross.
But then there were those who did more.
Emergency medical technician supervisor Kristina Starr, 40, of Duncansville traveled to New Jersey Oct. 30, the day after the storm hit, with a crew of two fellow EMTs and a medic.
Starr and her crew are Hollidaysburg American Legion Ambulance Service members who volunteered as part of a strike team. They receive training through the ambulance company so they are prepared if called up to help.
This was Starr's first trip with the EMTs to deal with a natural disaster.
The group spent six days in the Jersey Shore area, transporting patients from mobile emergency rooms to hospitals and vice versa. Emergency relief organizations had set up the mobile emergency rooms, which Starr described as similar to campers. The mobile ERs and tents were used to house as many injured patients as possible.
"The hospitals down there couldn't handle all of [the people]," she said. "There was so much overcrowding."
Damage was visible everywhere: both people's physical injuries and the structural damage to buildings. Starr said parts of the shore looked like they had been wiped away and all that remained of some houses were foundations.
"Some parts were truly gone," she said.
She tried to take pictures to capture what she saw but said that pictures don't convey the enormity of what she witnessed.
"People see it on TV, and even when I'd go to the shelters, the news would be on. But a picture doesn't really let you grasp what went on, and the damage that was caused," she said.
It was heart-wrenching, she said.
Starr said she knows there were many people there to help out from all over the region, including from Conemaugh Health System in Johnstown, AMED in Altoona and others from Ebensburg.
"They had Red Cross people pretty much everywhere you went," she said.
According to Red Cross Cumberland Valley Chapter Manager Nikki Otto, there were 22 people from throughout central Pennsylvania who left to help after Hurricane Sandy.
"They all had various sources of responsibilities in what they would do," she said, depending on their training.
Starr said some shelters had retired doctors administering treatment, and whole facilities were staffed entirely of volunteers.
Otto said Red Cross workers helped in some shelters by passing out food and water, while others worked in warehouses loading supplies onto trucks. Some are still participating in relief efforts, she said.
Jane Gable, executive director of the Red Cross' Southern Alleghenies Chapter in Altoona, said no volunteers were sent from the Altoona area, but Sheetz sent three refrigerated trucks to the East Coast.
As much as Starr said she appreciated the chance to help, she and her team got some help of their own from the community.
The first night there, her team was stranded when they couldn't make a return trip over a damaged bridge because of the structural damage it sustained. She said they were supposed to be self-sustaining, meaning providing food and facilities for themselves, for up to 72 hours.
"The people there were at the grocery store, and they started donating money to us," she said. "That's kind of special. Their community was just devastated, but they cared for and helped us."
Starr also said people frequently cheered and clapped as medical workers and volunteers drove by, even stopping them at lights and intersections just to thank them.
Starr said she was given just an hour's notice to leave home.
"My husband's in Afghanistan," she said, where he serves as an Army medic. "All I left behind were two dogs."
But Starr doesn't see what she did as heroic.
"That's our job ... just like the secretary who stays late to cover a board meeting. It's nothing special," she said.