TAMPA, Fla. — The international war zone rescue organization based out of Tampa, Project DYNAMO, has spent the past five days in Maui helping wildfire victims, according to founder and CEO Bryan Stern.
“We’ve seen cars that were melted all the way to the bottom,” he said. “The fire was incredibly hot.”
Stern said he and his team rented a helicopter in Maui and conducted over two dozen flights to the hard hit Lahaina area, rescuing fire victims and delivering supplies. The Tampa man said delivering breast milk for babies in need was rewarding.
“We had the A-Team theme song playing in the background,” he said. “It was just a big cooler filled with breast milk, but it struck a deep chord for us, for sure.”
Stern said people on the island have been upset with the government’s response to the disaster.
“By day five, these people are feeling really, really, alone. They’re feeling abandoned,” he said. “The skies should be filled with military copters going back and forth.”
Maui is the second natural disaster that Project DYNAMO has worked. The first was in Fort Myers after Hurricane Ian devastated the area last year.
Project DYNAMO released video and photos on Monday showing team members helping animals, too. They fed and gave water to more than a dozen dogs and helped move some giant tortoises.
Stern said the rescue missions are expensive and so far have only been funded by small donors from across the nation.
“We have 45,000 donors that are all grassroots from all over America,” he said. “Some people give $10, some people give $20, but we are absolutely looking for corporate sponsors.”