South Plains Red Cross volunteer hits the road to help with Florence relief

KAMC News

Volunteers with the South Plains chapter of the Red Cross were deployed to help with Hurricane Florence relief efforts on Sunday evening. Local volunteer Brad Larson packed his bags and hit the road Monday morning.

“Right now, I’m assigned to Raleigh, North Carolina, but with these disaster reliefs, you never know where you’ll be going. They’ll be updating me as I go across the country,” said Larson.

On the way, Larson is picking up other regional volunteers who will also assist in relief efforts. While they will be assigned their duties upon arrival, Larson said they could be doing bulk distribution of cleaning kits or food distribution. Larson is also qualified to help conduct inspections in homes and grade how badly they have been destroyed.

This is Larson’s second deployment with the Red Cross, the first coming from his deployment to Hurricane Irma in Florida last year. 

“Before, it was ‘OK, we are going to help people but you don’t see what you’re doing and how people react to it until you’re actually there.’ We were in the same neighborhoods all the time, so within a day or two, people start to know you, and you know them, and you know the kids and you can start to talk to them. They feel that somebody cares,” said Larson. 

While many people may want to travel to the Carolinas to volunteer, the Red Cross is encouraging people to get training first.

Jerri Beth Dunlap, the disaster program director for the South Plains chapter, said they will host a volunteer class from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, September 22, for any individual who wants to become a volunteer.

“Those classes will help them become qualified or be ready the next day if they are deployed out and choose to go,” Dunlap said.

To sign up, go to www.redcross.org and click ‘Volunteer Connection.’ For more information on Saturday’s class, call 806-765-8534.

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