Home News Local News Red Cross disaster specialist says the amount of local support is ‘tremendous’

Red Cross disaster specialist says the amount of local support is ‘tremendous’

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The American Red Cross says hundreds of their disaster workers around the country are doing their part to help those impacted by hurricane Harvey, and more are continuing to come.

The nonprofit also says thousands more will be asked to deploy in the weeks to come as people begin to recover from the storm.
“The call came out (Monday) morning that we need 4,000 Red Cross volunteers to be on-scene, I think it was by Wednesday,” said American Red Cross disaster program specialist Adam Barber. “That’s nationwide. We’re expected to go up to 12,000 people needed for this. It’s that big.”
Barber said if one breaks that down by region, they should be deploying about 67 people.
“(And) we’ve already done 50 percent of that, and that’s just Roswell,” he said. “We do have a very large representation here, larger than what I was expecting. We have an awesome community of people that really care.”
Barber said he believes they are up to 24 brand-new people that have committed to the two-week volunteering timeframe.
“I think the bulk of them are right here from Roswell,” he said. “It looks like we’re really going to be getting some quality people, building up a really strong team here, and being able to just really support our community and the nation.”
Barber said oftentimes, disasters like this point to a bigger picture.
“It does bring an awareness to people,” he said. “Most likely, we’re not going to get hit by a hurricane, but we do get hit with a lot of flooding, we get the monsoons, we get the wildfires, and so now’s the time that we like to engage people to say, ‘Well, now that you’re paying attention to what’s going on, let’s talk about what would you do in that situation.”
Barber said he received a phone call Monday from national headquarters where he was told “all hands on deck.”

“That’s for the entire nation,” he said. “We are 100 percent focusing on this hurricane, so our day jobs — we have what’s called ‘blue-sky’ job and ‘gray-sky’ job. Blue-sky is like our day job, ‘gray-sky’ is our disaster mode.
“All of that other stuff we were doing before is, it’s kind of on the back-burner, we’re not really looking at it right now. We’re fully committed into getting out there and helping these people.”
Barber said disaster relief volunteers will be going wherever they’ll be needed.
“We’re working directly with State of Texas, Emergency Management, FEMA, Homeland Security — all the major organizations, government and non-profit,” he said. “I just got off the phone with the Salvation Army local asking what they’re doing.
“All of us are just saying, ‘Well, we’re kind of holding steady right now, trying to figure out where we need to be.’ Sometimes, that’s difficult when the public hears that.
“They say, ‘Why aren’t you doing anything yet?’ And we say, ‘Well, it’s because we need to make sure that, one, we don’t send people into a bad area. The worst thing you can do is send rescuers in, and then now they need to be rescued. That’s what police and search and rescue are doing now, is we’re making sure that they’re being able to rescue people safely, so they don’t add to the problem.”
Barber said in situations like this, it can take some time. Still, he said he was proud of the city.
“(It) just goes to show that we have an amazing group of people ready to step up and really get involved,” Barber said.
Barber said while the organization remains on the lookout for volunteers, they will not turn anyone down due to a physical disability.
Volunteers for disaster relief and local assistance will continue to be sought, Barber said.
“We do not stop that,” he said. “The house fires still happen, the wildfires still happen, the normal day-to-day disasters that we deal with still happen.”
For more information on how to volunteer, visit redcross.org.
Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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