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Louisiana Response Includes 33 from Western and Central New York

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The American Red Cross remains on the ground in Louisiana, with volunteers across nearly half of the state helping the thousands of people who have lost everything they own in the devastating flooding there. 

“The situation in Louisiana remains critical,” said Rosie Taravella, CEO of the Western and Central New York Region. “People need help right now. And our help is just beginning. We will be there to help people recover in the weeks and months to come. We ask people to please consider making a financial donation to the Red Cross today to support the people of Louisiana.” 

More than 90 Red Cross response vehicles are fanning through affected neighborhoods to distribute food, water and relief supplies. Disaster mental health and health services volunteers are providing emotional support and helping to replace things like lost eyeglasses, wheelchairs and medications. 

As of August 24, more than 2,500 Red Crossers have provided the following services:

Served more than 360,000 meals and snacks.

Distributed more than 126,000 relief items.

Provided more than 47,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters.

Handled nearly 22,000 calls from people seeking information and help.

Provided 8,000 health services and emotional support contacts.

Mobilized four kitchens. 

Here in the Western and Central New York Region, 33 of the area’s volunteers are joining the massive disaster response. Most recently, Greater Rochester Disaster Program Specialist Bill Platt is traveling to Louisiana for Disaster Planning, along with volunteer Mark Sennett who will assist in Mass Care/Feeding. From the Southern Tier Chapter, Melanie Pandich is deployed as a Training Supervisor. 

Here is a complete list of the region’s contingent: 

Central New York Chapter: 

John Aldasch – Canastota - Sheltering 

May Becker - Fayetteville - Client Casework –Fiscal Review (virtual) 

John Carroll – Camillus - Service Associate - Feeding 

Harry Dashnau - Baldwinsville - Sheltering 

Ed Dienst – Skaneateles- Community Partnerships 

Gordon Howard – Tully - Bulk Distribution 

William Morris - Syracuse - Bulk Distribution Supervisor 

Robert Mueller- Manlius - Service Associate/Feeding 

Mark Paikin- Fayetteville - Staff Relations Manager 

Ken Stapleton- Cicero - Disaster Assessment 

Frank VanSickle- Cortland - Client Casework (virtual)

Finger Lakes Chapter: 

Lorraine Morris- Bath - Disaster Services Technology 

Greater Rochester Chapter: 

Gail Hirst – Rochester - Client Casework (virtual) 

Sarah Perkins- Pittsford - Disaster Assessment 

Bill Platt - Rochester - Disaster Planning

James Robinson- East Rochester - Bulk Distribution 

Mark Sennett-Rochester-Mass Care/Feeding 

Southern Tier Chapter: 

Susan Barr – Brooktondale - Sheltering 

Nancy Hall –Trumansburg - Client Casework (virtual) 

Charles Haupt- Owego - Bulk Distribution Manager 

Donald Nelson- Endicott - Shelter Supervisor

Melanie Pandich – Binghamton – Training Supervisor 

Greg Patinka – Binghamton -Sheltering 

David Ruston- Binghamton - Sheltering 

Joseph Stover- Dryden - Logistics – Warehouse Manager 

Michael Thomas- Ithaca - Shelter Supervisor 

Dianne Zavada- Vestal - Sheltering 

Peter Zelno- Vestal - Bulk Distribution 

Western New York Chapter: 

Jay Bonafede –Tonawanda- Disaster Public Affairs 

Pat Coate –Allegany - Sheltering 

Cynthia Manne- Depew- Disaster Mental Health 

Diane Sargent-Lockport- Bulk Distribution 

Elizabeth Shook-Cuba- Staff Services 

Each day, the Red Cross is able to get into more and more neighborhoods, and volunteers are working tirelessly to provide assistance. In some areas, residents are still experiencing flooding, while other neighborhoods are facing the challenge of cleaning up. Where possible, the Red Cross is beginning to distribute food and relief supplies. 

BECOME A VOLUNTEER To join us, visit today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application. 

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP People can download the free Red Cross Emergency App now to be ready in case of a disaster in their community. They can use the app’s “I’m Safe” button to connect with their loved ones. The Emergency App can be found in the app store for someone’s mobile device by searching for “American Red Cross” or by going to