When Hurricane Katrina struck, Bruce Konsesky of Manville knew he wanted to help. He joined the American Red Cross and traveled to Louisiana where he spent weeks help those in need. Twelve years later, he is answering the call to help once again. This time in Texas, where Bruce and fellow Red Cross volunteers Lynn Paul of Voorhees, Chris Cummings of Glendora and Anthony Dalla Mura of Wayne will be caring for those coping with the impacts of Hurricane Harvey.
“Twelve years ago today was my first deployment – to Hurricane Katrina – so it’s special that I get to go to Houston today,” said Bruce. “Once the flood waters recede, I’ll be out there helping the residents by distributing hot food, water and relief supplies. I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to helping.”
The foursome jumped into two Emergency Response Vehicles and left the American Red Cross in Fairfield, New Jersey beginning their 1,200 mile journey to Texas. When they reach the flood-ravaged areas of the Lone Star State, they will join the hundreds of Red Cross volunteers who have been working around the clock to help the thousands of people whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey.
In Texas, catastrophic flooding is still occurring following a record-breaking rainfall. The National Weather Service estimates that 6 million Texans have been impacted by 30 inches or more of rainfall. Preliminary FEMA estimates indicate as many as 67,000 homes in Texas may be damaged by Hurricane Harvey.
Through the end of this week, life-threatening flooding will continue around Houston and into southwest Louisiana, even as additional rain is forecast for the Gulf Coast. Tornadoes are also possible.
The Red Cross is keeping people safe while providing shelter, food and a shoulder to lean on. Tuesday night, emergency responders continued to bring rescued families to shelters while more evacuees streamed in on their own. Estimates indicate at least 32,000 people sought refuge in more than 230 Red Cross and partner shelters across Texas Tuesday night. Three shelters are also open in Louisiana with nearly 40 people.
“Our hearts go out to the thousands of people impacted by Hurricane Harvey,” said Ana Montero, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “We are grateful to all of the Red Cross disaster workers from right here in New Jersey who are leaving their families and heading to Texas to help. Our heartfelt thanks to those who have made a contribution to support relief efforts. We hope everyone will consider making a donation to support this massive disaster operation.”
As of August 30, Lynn, Chris, Bruce and Anthony are among 29 New Jersey Red Crossers who are lending a helping hand in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Jodi Bocco of West Long Branch, Alexander Boyer of Waretown, Alayne Chapman of Pennsauken, Remy Davis of Basking Ridge, Christopher Dempsey of Ocean, Jean Edouard of Irvington, Lauri Gill of Sparta, Peter Grey of Sandyston, Grant Hansen of Ridgefield, Joan Klimpl of Somerset, Linda Kolman of Ventnor City, Donna Kulmaczewski of Hopewell, Kristee Lauro of Ocean, Sheryl Levine of Edison, Christopher Locha of Lanoka Harbor, Carol Matthews of Florence, Carrie McIntosh of Pennsville, Ricardo Medrano of Union City, Gary Olivero of Sea Bright, Christopher Pena of Old Bridge, Clare Rybczynski of Branchburg, Terrence Smith of Sewell, Shira Stern of Morganville and Gerald Zurawiecki of Wallington are already on the ground in Texas supporting relief efforts. Additional volunteers are on standby, ready to deploy as needed.
Help people affected by disasters by visiting redcross.org or by calling 1- 800-RED CROSS.
Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters.
We know Americans are generous and want to do everything they can to help after a disaster. Unfortunately, collecting and sending food, clothing and other household items often does more harm than good. It takes time and money to store, sort, clean and distribute donated items, which diverts limited time and resources away from helping those most affected. Instead, the best way to support disaster victims is with a financial donation.
To learn more about Red Cross Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, visit redcross.org.