"I'm lucky to have the struggles that I have," Clay, a senior at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, said.
Clay is one of 28 students and 15 staff members and parents flying out to Ocean City, New Jersey on Thursday to help victims of Super Storm Sandy.
"I think it's my responsibility as an American to be a part of helping other Americans," Clay said.
Jim Kirchner is the Director of Spiritual Life at Valor Christian. He says a mission like this is part of their responsibilities as Christians.
"Definitely feel like we're representing Christ's hands and feet on the ground," Kirchner said. "We need to know that the world does not revolve around us. We are at our greatest place of joy and happiness when we are helping others."
When Clay first saw images of the destruction of Sandy, he says it reminded him of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. He says when the school first posed the idea of going to New Jersey; he knew he had to go.
"I just felt a pull, already," Clay said.
Normally, students have months to prepare mission trips. Clay says they planned everything in about a week.
"This is a scramble," Kirchner said. "It was a scramble from the get go. No one plans a disaster."
With more time on traditional mission trips, students and their families can hold fundraisers to cover the costs of transportation. But, in such short notice, most of the volunteers going are just paying their own way to fly to the East Coast. The school did receive a significant donation to get their efforts moving.
"Logistically, it was a nightmare, but it all came together," Kirchner said.
Kirchner says the adults and students do not even know what they will be doing when they get there on Thursday. The Valor volunteers will be working under the umbrella of an international relief organization known as "Samaritan's Purse."
The students and adults will get their various assignments of clean-up and re-building each morning. They will return next week.
"It's completely true service. It's not about me. It's not about the people that I am with, but just my open hands ready to do whatever I am called to do," Clay said.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)