They are true heroes not seeking medals or honours but offering themselves up for their country and their people. There are no parallels that can be drawn for this sort of heroism.
These men can take no comfort in the certainty of success, but are willing to give their lives to the endeavour.
Here are some of the poignant and heartbreaking messages posted by their families;
"My dad went to the Nuclear Plant. I never heard my mother cry so hard. People at the plant are struggling, sacrificing themselves to protect you. Please dad come back alive," read a tweet by Twitter user @nekkonekonyaa.
"My husband is working knowing he could be radiated," said one woman. He told her via email, "Please continue to live well. I cannot be home for awhile."
"My father is still working at the plant -- they are running out of food…we think conditions are really tough. He says he's accepted his fate…much like a death sentence…"
"I heard that my father volunteered even though he will be retiring in just half a year and I my eyes are filling up with tears... At home, he doesn't seem like someone who could handle big jobs...but today, I was really proud of him. And I pray for his safe return," she wrote.
It's easy to dismiss the efficacy of a single donation, but collectively people make a difference.
If reading this touched or inspired you, please donate here at the Red Cross Tsunami Appeal.