Disaster Workers Return After Two-Week Deployment
Furman Alden and Sue Wisdom are back home, after spending two weeks on deployment following Hurricane Harvey. The Northeast Ohio volunteers spent long hours driving an Emergency Response Vehicle through streets in and around Houston, making sure residents had access to warm meals, water and snacks.
“No one sees skin color, religion or politics,” said Sue, a Lake County resident and a veteran of disaster relief operations. “From the youngest to the oldest, the way people came together to help each other, it’s heartwarming.”
Sue said several little boys volunteered to help distribute meals, going door-to-door after receiving their own meals and learning about the work of the Red Cross. “They were amazing,” she said. “I gave them cookies, and one of them said ‘You are so nice.’ That made may day!”
Furman Alden, also a veteran of disaster work, said he has never seen so much debris piled so high in front of so many houses. The Youngstown resident said, “The whole way down the street, they emptied their houses completely. Furniture, dry wall, everything. It was messy.”
He says they were the first relief workers to reach a neighborhood that had been cut off by flooded roadways. “We were the first ones to get in there. They were so happy to see us.”
It was a struggle getting anywhere. Furman says driving was stressful, due to bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic. But the ERV he and Sue drove was a lifeline for so many Texans who lost so much in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Nearly 6,000 Red Cross disaster workers are in Texas, Florida, and other areas hit hard by Harvey and Hurricane Irma, providing the same life-sustaining services that Sue and Furman delivered. More volunteers are needed to continue the mission, and expedited training sessions are scheduled throughout the northeast Ohio Region. Visit our website at redcross.org/neo, and click the VOLUNTEER tab to begin an application.
A message from the Volunteer Services Department:
All volunteers must complete a free online volunteer application, which includes acknowledgement of policy statements and a criminal background check
Volunteers will need to successfully complete disaster training before being eligible for potential deployment, this can include a combination of in-person and/or online training
Depending on adjustment of the real-time needs of the disaster locations and your specific abilities- you may not deploy immediately or at all.
Call 216-431-3328 for more information.
This video was created on the day Sue Wisdom and Furman Alden left Northeast Ohio in response to the residents of Texas following Hurricane Harvey.