Denver Navy sailor on-board USS George Washington responds to typhoon in Philippines

DENVER - A Denver West graduate is one of the 5,500 members on-board the USS George Washington helping deliver supplies to the Philippines.

Petty Officer Netzahualcoyotl Lopez is stationed with the ship based out of Japan. Thursday, they arrived in the Philippine Sea to assist with Operation Damayan, the humanitarian efforts in response to Typhoon Haiyan.

Friday morning, Lopez spoke on the phone with 7NEWS Reporter Lindsey Sablan about his experience thus far. It was 8 a.m. (MST), but it was nearly midnight in the Philippine Sea and Lopez was preparing for a six-hour watch. 

"Right now, the carrier is kind of like a staging area where we receive a lot of supplies. Medical supplies, water, food...whatever is needed out there," Lopez said.

He works in the Combat Systems department and supervises the work, maintenance, and repairs of the Fire Control Radars onboard.

"It's really hard to comprehend the devastation that occurred," he said. "It's like taking like a quarter size of Denver county and literally wiping it off the face of the earth. It's just total destruction everywhere."

Shipmates tell 7NEWS the destruction is equivalent to Hurricane Katrina. Lopez talked about what the people of the Philippines are up against.

"All your possessions are gone. One minute you have them, the next minute you don't. You're missing family members, you don't know where they are. You don't know if they're alive or what's going on," he said. "You just kind of pray and hope you can find them as soon as you can."

Lopez, who graduated Denver West in 1991, had a message to send home to his family in Denver.

"I miss them and I'll see them soon and I look forward to talking to them. I wish them all the best. And we're out here trying to help these people out that need the help the most," he said.

In true Bronco fashion, he added one more message before we hung up.

"I just want to wish the Broncos good luck this weekend and I hope they beat the Chiefs!"

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