Cape Cod father and son return from Maui disaster response
'It looked like a wrecking ball had come through,' says Marine Second Lieutenant Christian Cotton.
MASHPEE—A Marine and his dad have returned from a three-week disaster response effort in Hawaii, where in August fires destroyed much of Lahaina and killed at least 97 people.
Marine Second Lieutenant Christian Cotton, 23, and his father, Mashpee Select Board Chair John Cotton, volunteered with the Red Cross to help coordinate shelter and intake assistance on the ground. (Cotton's mother, Barbara, is executive director of the Red Cross Southeastern Massachusetts chapter.)
"We were just speechless," Lt. Cotton said of his first impression of the damage. "Seeing it with your own eyes, it changes you."
This week some restrictions were lifted for people to return to what was left of their homes in Lahaina. Cotton said the mutual support among survivors struck him most.
"This is all coming from someone who lost everything," Cotton said, "And they're willing to give back when they really have nothing to give themselves."
Cotton begins active duty next month in Quantico, Va. He and his dad on Thursday will host an information session on becoming a Red Cross volunteer.