Tennessee Valley Natives On Board The USS Fitzgerald & One Family is speaking out

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - WHNT News 19 has learned two of the sailors on board The USS Fitzgerald are from The Tennessee Valley. 23-year-old Jackson Schrimsher of Athens and 20-year-old Joey Railey of Harvest were on The Fitzgerald at the time of the collision.

Joey Railey's stepmom said it was a very long night on Friday. "We were waiting for phone calls from Japan and we were talking back and forth with his wife," Joey's stepmom Erin Railey said.

According to CNN, the 10,000-ton guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald and the ACX Crystal, a 29,000-ton container ship flagged in the Philippines, collided early Saturday local time, officials said.

The destroyer suffered severe damage to its starboard side, while the container ship sustained light damage.

Joey's stepmom and dad were settling down for the night when they heard about the collision. Joey's dad got a text from a friend to turn on the news. Erin said they were very concerned. She called Joey's mother and his wife. "She was nervous and tried to keep calm. Usually with this situation no news is good news," Erin Railey said.

She then started placing calls into Joey's base to get answers. "I didn't know the numbers right away for his base, so I reached out to the Red Cross. They were able to get me the contact numbers," Erin Railey said.

Erin was able to get a little information, but it wasn't until Saturday they found out their sailor was safe. "To get that call this morning was a huge relief. It took a lot of weight off," Erin Railey explained.

Joey's parents said this was his first time on a ship and they're thankful he is safe. They said their hearts go out to the family members of the seven that passed away and those injured.

Jackson Schrimsher's grandmother, Rita Schrimsher, tells WHNT News 19 the family spoke briefly to him via FaceTime Friday night, and that he is safe.

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