Along with most of the State of Georgia, Red Cross volunteers have spent the last week watching the track of Florence, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Now that Georgia has dodged a direct hit from this slow-moving and very destructive storm, local volunteers are stepping up—to help complete strangers during their greatest time of need.
Fred Corey, of Blue Ridge and Bob Townley of Armuchee, are Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle (ERVs) drivers—and two of the first Red Cross volunteers, from the state of Georgia, to head into the storm. On Saturday, September 16, they joined more than 60 volunteers from across the country in Macon, GA, to prep their vehicles before heading off to the Carolinas.
“When you can stand face to face with an individual in need and feel what they feel, with an organization like the Red Cross standing behind you—it’s awesome,” said Fred Corey, a Red Cross volunteer for nine years.
Red Cross ERVs are used after a large-scale emergency or disaster, like Hurricane Florence, to reach the hardest hit neighborhoods with hot meals, water and emergency clean-up supplies, like mops, buckets, rubber gloves and bleach.
As of Sunday, September 16, 12 more Red Cross workers and volunteers from Georgia will join Fred and Bob in the Carolinas. These selfless individuals are Mark and Connie Fleetwood, Sarah Lynn Guillory, John Balsam, Dorthy Jubon, Sandi Cole, Carla Maton, Jewel Young, Sue McConnell, Truus Disseldorp and Leslie Stewart. The specialties within this well-versed group include: Health Services, Disability Integration and Mass Care.
More than 20,000 people spent the night of September 15 in Red Cross and community shelters in the impacted region and in the coming days and weeks, the Red Cross of Georgia may very well be sending more people in to help.
On why Red Cross volunteers choose to put their everyday lives on hold to help strangers in need, perhaps Fred Corey said it best, “Whenever I get a hug and a tearful thank you it makes it all worthwhile.”
If you or anyone you know would like to train to become a Red Cross volunteer, visit RedCross.org/volunteer. To help people impacted by Hurricane Florence, please go to RedCross.org.