After a fitful night of throbbing abdominal pain, curled up in a ball inside her hurricane-battered home trying to wish away the agony, 21-year-old Angelena Sawyer could barely function, let alone tend to her infant daughter.
Writhing in misery, Sawyer had no idea she was suffering from acute appendicitis. Neither did her parents nor her husband, Jacob Sibilia, fully realise the gravity of the situation as they coped with the larger crisis of surviving the aftermath of a natural disaster.
While reinforcing the strained resources of official search-and-rescue teams, the volunteers worked largely independently of them, Marchetti said.
Valerie Sale, a Bay County emergency management spokeswoman, said an almost total lack of cell phone and internet service that lasted nearly a week prevented coordination with outside volunteers, but "we're grateful for their efforts, for sure."