South Mississippi Red Cross volunteers helping in Colorado

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Four Red Cross volunteers from South Mississippi are in Colorado to help the flood victims there.

They are among the first disaster assistance workers from our state to deploy to Colorado.

"We go in and jump in amongst 'em and say tell us what you want us to do," said Ann Loveless of Petal, as she and husband David prepared to leave on deployment.

They began volunteering ten years ago, after he retired. Over the past decade, they've deployed after hurricanes, tornados and floods.

"Anyone that cares can do what we're doing. It means so much, to the people that we're helping. You know, when they see the Red Cross, it's like, oh finally!" said Ann Loveless.

They say the work is most rewarding, with gratitude replacing paychecks.

"That's what we get, a lot of hugs. That's our payday, when we get a hug. That's worth a big paycheck. So, that's what we work for," said her husband, David.

Gloria Harlan will also work for pins.

"I know I'll get some now from Colorado," she said, clutching her visor, filled with souvenir pins.

She collects them from fellow volunteers during her various Red Cross deployments. For this Biloxi resident, the volunteer work is about giving back.

"I lost my home in Hurricane Katrina and the Red Cross helped me and right after I got resettled, I came in here and said, 'Next time, I want to be helping.' And ever since then that's what I've been doing," said Harlan.

She admits to a little anxiety, not knowing exactly what to expect in the Colorado.

"Don't know what the conditions will be. We try to be prepared, but every deployment is totally different. We never know if we'll be living on a cot, in a tent, in a school room. Wherever," said Harlan.

This much she does know for certain: The flood victims out west will appreciate the Red Cross assistance.

"Wonderful. I get hugged a lot. I get God bless you's all the time. So, it's very nice they appreciate us, just like we appreciated them when they came in," she explained.

Their initial assignment will include "drive-by" assessments, helping survey the damage in Colorado's flooded neighborhoods. They'll be deployed out west, for two weeks.

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