5 local volunteers, originally from Puerto Rico, head home to help

Damage from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Photo Date: 9/20/17

TOLEDO, Oh (WTVG) - The medical mission trip to Puerto Rico is personal.

"I get emotional trying to keep myself together," Maria Gonzalez, who is handling logistics on the trip said.

She says she is both eager and afraid to get there.

"Things are getting bad," she said. "People are getting desperate and we're getting concerned for safety now."

Not to mention, her family is somewhere, in the middle of Hurricane Maria's destruction.

"Some of them we were able to get in touch with them. Some of them we have not been able to. The island was left 100% without communication," Gonzalez told 13abc.

Despite her worry, she's focused on helping Maria victims. Monday night, at Carlos Poco Loco downtown, she greeted guests as part of a fundraiser for the trip.

14 people, most of them from the Toledo area, and five originally from Puerto Rico, will fly out of Detroit on Thursday.

Armed with medical supplies, the team is prepared to treat some 2,000 people.

"That's a good amount of patients," Dr. Richard Paat, who spearheaded the trip, said. "It's a pretty experienced team and we know we'll be working with the local community."

Their final destination is Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, where Maria first made landfall.

It's a town one volunteer knows well.

"I've got most of my family from there," Luis Moctezuma, who is going on the trip said. "Everybody is alive, that's important. They have big damage to their houses, but that's not important."

Moctezuma says he's anxious to get there and says he's trying to prepare for what's waiting for him.

"My hometown is destroyed, 90%. No communication, no water," he said.

But that's why volunteers do what they do. In most cases the mission isn't in their backyard, but the call to help is the same.

"This is a personal trip for me," Byron Wynn, a medical translator, said. "But this is what Americans do. They help each other out."