‘If you can bring relief…your mission is complete’

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Moe Darden is no stranger to the Red Cross ― or to responding to hurricane disaster relief missions.

He began volunteering with the Red Cross following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He’s since helped those affected by Hurricane Sandy, and has now added Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria to the list.

Moe, along with three other Eastern North Carolina Red Crossers departed for Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday, Sept. 24, en route to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to render aid to those affected by recent back-to-back hurricanes.

“If you can bring relief to a 3-year-old who lost his blanket in a storm, then your mission is complete,” Moe said.

The crew of volunteers each said they wanted to bring back a sense of normalcy and comfort to those who’ve lost homes and loved ones because of Hurricane Maria.

Mycaela Crouse, disaster program specialist for the Central NC Chapter of the Red Cross, began volunteering with the Red Cross at age 16, and said she was fully prepared to help in Puerto Rico. “The idea of giving back is so rewarding. The chance to do that every day is a gift,” she said.

 

And new volunteer Duy Phan, said he wants to help because he lost his home to a flood three years ago and understands the pain of starting new.

While on the islands, the team of volunteers will be focused on quickly distributing supplies such as food, water and clean-up materials to residents.

 

Stay tuned for updates on Eastern NC volunteers and the work they are doing on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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From arms of war to arms of compassion

“This is my calling.”  Hurricane Irma was the first deployment for Tetoya Gibson.  She was taking personal leave from her job as an Air Force aircraft armament technician, a tech sergeant at Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina.  Gibson, from Goldsboro, NC, started in her home state, deployed in an EmergencyIMG_1485y Response Vehicle, and made her way down though South Carolina and then to Georgia.

By Saturday, September 16, she was working at a major bulk distribution site at the College of Coastal Georgia in Kingsland.  An indication of the major damage to the area was the long line of cars moving patiently and stopping periodically for supplies in the drive-through setup.  Gibson happened to be working alongside fellow members of the military from several branches.  Her job was to pass out bleach, trash bags, work gloves, water and Red Cross comfort kits.

“I’m having the best time,” she said.  “I’ve met so many great people.”

She’s a veteran with 18 years of service. She’s planning to retire from the Air Force in two years.    The Red Cross is her new passion.

“I’m going home because I’m out of personal leave.  As soon as I get some more, I’m going to go again. To be able to serve my country in two ways is a blessing.”

Red Cross Prepares for Hurricane Irma – Issues Safety Steps, Calls for Volunteers

Hurricane Preparedness

Sept. 7, 2017, RALEIGH – The American Red Cross continues to help people impacted by Hurricane Harvey while getting ready to respond as powerful Hurricane Irma nears the United States and its territories.

Hurricane Irma is the most powerful Atlantic Ocean storm on record and people in the possible path of this storm should monitor weather reports and get prepared now.

In North Carolina, the Red Cross is establishing a statewide relief operation based in Charlotte, working closely with government officials and community partners to coordinate potential response efforts. In addition, supplies are now being staged across the state so they can be dispatched quickly should shelters be opened.

“The Red Cross continues to monitor Hurricane Irma closely and is prepping as if the storm will be destructive in North Carolina,” said Barry Porter, regional CEO of the Red Cross in Eastern NC. “We encourage the community to take the next few days to prepare their homes and families.”

Hurricane Safety Steps

Find a shelter by visiting redcross.org or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App. The Emergency App also puts real time information about the storm and hurricane safety tips at your fingertips. The app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps. You can also follow these safety steps:

  • Continue listening to local area radio, NOAA radioor TV stations for the latest information and updates.
  • If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary.
  • Follow evacuation orders and do not attempt to return until officials say it is safe to do so.
  • Head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
  • Turn around, don’t drown. If driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood danger.
  • Make sure you have a plan and supplies for your pets. Download the free Red Cross Pet First Aid Appfor emergency preparedness tips, a pet-friendly hotel locator and an animal hospital locator.

During the storm:

  • Stay indoors.
  • Don’t walk on beaches, riverbanks or in flood waters.
  • Use flashlights in the dark if the power goes out. Do NOT use candles.
  • Turn off the power and water mains if instructed to do so by local authorities.
  • Don’t forget your pets. Bring them indoors and maintain direct control of them. Prepare an emergency kit for your pets, including sturdy leashes or pet carriers, food and water, bowls, cat litter and pan, and photos of you with your pet in case they get lost.

Find more information on preparedness on redcross.org.

VOLUNTEER: The Red Cross is currently seeking volunteers to help those affected by Hurricane Irma. To volunteer, please visit redcross.org/volunteer to complete a volunteer application and see what opportunities are available.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.