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American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter Deploying 3 Volunteers to Prepare for Potential Hurricane

3 Deployed to Florida

PHOENIX (Aug. 23, 2012) – Three volunteers from the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter are deploying to Orlando, with the possibility of providing relief for a tropical storm that’s soon expected to intensify into a hurricane in advance of an anticipated landfall in Florida early next week.

Highlighting the Red Cross message of preparing for a disaster before it strikes, Vic Hencken, 64, of Prescott, left Thursday as a job deputy director, while Regina Crandall, 48, of Maricopa, departs Friday and Larry Webb, 63, of Chandler, takes off Saturday, both as disaster assessment workers. With top winds of 45 mph, Tropical Storm Isaac neared Puerto Rico on Thursday, and it’s forecast to grow into a hurricane as early as Friday as it heads over the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before touching southwestern Florida on Monday, according to National Hurricane Center projections.

Hencken has volunteered for the Red Cross with his wife, Flo, for the past 11 years. He’s certified as a shelter manager and as an Emergency Response Vehicle driver, and he worked the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008. He also has been deployed by the Red Cross for other hurricanes and tropical storms, as well as for tornadoes, floods and wildfires.

Webb started with the Red Cross in 2009, and as a Disaster Action Team member stationed in the East Valley, he has logged more than 5,000 volunteer hours. He responded to flooding last year in Memphis, Tenn., and this summer, he went to Montana for wildfires. It’s the first national deployment for Crandall, a Pinal County DAT member who began volunteering for the Red Cross last August.

“We’re going down early and not waiting for (the hurricane) to happen,” Crandall said. “We’re proactive, as opposed to reactive.” Webb added that “it’s rewarding to know that you’re helping someone. You don’t see who you’re helping. But you know that you’re helping someone.”

Hundreds of other Red Cross disaster workers are gathering in Florida, and the Red Cross is prepared to open dozens of shelters across the state. The Red Cross has 22 ERVs in Florida, it’s moving 28 more into the state and another 78 vehicles are on standby. It’s also mobilizing five truckloads of disaster supplies and cleanup items, including rakes, shovels and tarps, to send to Florida, and Red Cross disaster warehouses in Georgia and Mississippi are ready to ship additional emergency supplies. For the latest updates on Isaac, download the new Red Cross hurricane app for free on your smart phone (iPhones and Androids) by visiting www.redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. It’s a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The Grand Canyon Chapter, established in 1916, re-chartered in 1999 and expanded in 2003, ranks as the fifth-largest chapter nationally, serving the more than 5.1 million people in Apache, Coconino, Gila, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pinal, Yavapai and Yuma counties. For more information on the Grand Canyon Chapter, please visit www.arizonaredcross.org, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/redcrossgcc or follow us on Twitter under the handle @RedCrossGCC.