Tony Bustos, of Freeport, and Mario Torres, of North Chicago, said this is their first deployment with the Red Cross. They left O'Hare Airport on Sunday morning.
Bustos served as a volunteer firefighter for a decade, so he is an old pro at helping people.
"You get out of life what you put into life," Bustos said before he left. "If I want someone to be there to help me, I should be willing to help someone else."
About 40 volunteers from Illinois are among 1,100 who have been deployed since Hurricane Ida made landfall last week. They are stationed all the way from the Gulf to the Northeast coast.