The American Red Cross today deployed a local disaster worker from Rockford to join relief efforts in Saipan after Typhoon Soudelor hit the small island of 50,000 in the western Pacific Ocean late Sunday and early Monday.
Dave Pattengale of Rockford, a senior disaster program officer for the American Red Cross of Northwest Illinois, is one of the trained volunteers called to oversee field operations, including sheltering and feeding needs for displaced residents. Pattengale has deployed to numerous international and national disaster relief operations during his 20-year service with the Red Cross. Locally, he helped lead the response efforts for the recent tornadoes in Fairdale and Rochelle in April, in addition responding to dozens of home fires in Rockford and surrounding communities.
Pattengale received the call to deploy Sunday evening and started preparing to leave for the overseas relief operation with less than 48 hours notice.
“When disaster strikes, you don’t think twice, you say ‘yes’ and go where help is needed – if it’s a fire down the street or a typhoon halfway around the world,” Pattengale said.
The American Red Cross is part of the disaster relief efforts on the island, which is a commonwealth of the United States in the Northern Mariana Islands. Hundreds of Saipan residents are in shelters after high winds and flooding damaged homes. Access to some roads remains impassable, and power and water services are also challenging relief operations.
Pattengale joins a team of a half dozen other Red Cross disaster specialists from Illinois. The team will be deployed for about two weeks.
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. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.