PROVIDENCE, R.I., April 3, 2014 — Red Cross volunteer Louis Harris will deploy tomorrow to Washington State to support Red Cross relief efforts there in the wake of the Oso landslide.
Harris, a resident of Walpole, Mass., who volunteers with the American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter, will depart tomorrow from T.F. Green Airport. When he arrives in Washington, he will provide technical and computer networking assistance to the Red Cross operation there.
“We are grateful to Lou for sharing his skills with the Red Cross and with the people affected by this terrible tragedy,” said Paula Montgomery, executive director of the American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter. “He has the experience necessary to help keep Red Cross workers connected and linked to our online resources so they can better help the people in Washington State.”
Montgomery said the Red Cross begins its response to disasters at the local level and broadens the reach for volunteers to fill specific needs. “Lou has not only the networking and communications technology skills, but the experience with Red Cross disaster response technology to make his help valuable to the team on the ground in Washington.”
Montgomery said that since the March 22 landslide, the Red Cross has mobilized five response vehicles and more than 350 trained workers – about half of them from Washington State. Through Wednesday (April 2), these Red Cross workers have served more than 17,000 meals and snacks in partnership with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, handed out hundreds of comfort and relief items and provided more than 4,000 mental health or health-related contacts. In addition, Red Cross shelters have provided nearly 140 overnight stays.
“Red Cross caseworkers are meeting one-on-one with people affected to help them make plans for the future, navigate paperwork and locate help from other agencies,” Montgomery added. “The Red Cross will continue to work with families and determine if there are other ways we can help.”
“Our hearts go out to the people in Snohomish County and beyond who were affected by this tragedy,” Montgomery said. “We hope that the Red Cross presence and assistance can bring comfort and hope to the community.”