Gaenor Speed has spent the better part of the last 12 months assisting with Red Cross hurricane relief efforts. She is one of nearly 200 trained disaster workers the Red Cross has deployed to Hawaii as it prepares to respond to Hurricane Lane. Luckily, Gaenor is no stranger to hurricanes.
As an active, committed volunteer in Florida’s Southern Gulf Chapter, she was the shelter lead for Hurricane Irma overseeing 10 shelters. She then deployed to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria for five weeks, assigned to distribute solar and gas generators to people who needed them to run their medical equipment. Prior to 2017, she had deployed to Hurricane Matthew, Arizona fires and California floods.
“I do things 100 percent,” says Gaenor, so when the Red Cross called, she was ready to go. The Hawaii Chapter of the Red Cross was already mobilizing local volunteers and supporting county-run pre-landfall evacuation centers.
Hawaii officials are opening numerous evacuation centers across the islands. Emergency management officials anticipate that as many as 5,000 people may seek refuge in evacuation centers on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii over the next several days.
If needed, local government officials may transition evacuation centers into emergency shelters if residents can’t return home after the storm passes. The Red Cross will also support these post-landfall emergency shelters with trained workers, shelter supplies and other aid.
Gaenor will be one of those volunteers. "I love being a Red Cross volunteer. I like doing what I’m doing and the extra things I get to do throughout the year," she says.
You can help people affected by Hurricane Lane by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word LANE to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.
The Red Cross honors donor intent. Donors can designate their donation to Hurricane Lane relief efforts by choosing that option when donating on redcross.org or on 1-800-RED CROSS.
You can also support the Red Cross mission by becoming a Red Cross volunteer. If it weren’t for trained disaster workers like Gaenor who are ready to go where help is needed at a moment’s notice, the Red Cross would not be able to deliver its mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies.
We need people like you to make it happen. Sign up at redcross.org/sflvolunteer.
Written by Estefania Garcia