American Red Cross volunteers enter as water leaves - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

American Red Cross volunteers enter as water leaves

American Red Cross volunteers Joe Boals, center, and Tammy Coats, right, assess damage to the house of Vanessa Peters of Gulfport. (Photo source: WLOX News) American Red Cross volunteers Joe Boals, center, and Tammy Coats, right, assess damage to the house of Vanessa Peters of Gulfport. (Photo source: WLOX News)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Now that the water has gone out, American Red Cross volunteers have come in.

On Friday, most of those volunteers went into the hardest hit areas in Gulfport.

Homeowner Vanessa Peters suffered a total loss, and was among many getting damage assessments from the American Red Cross.

“For everything that we went through when all of this water came, it’s a really nice touch to know that people are just going out of their way to help you," said Peters. 

Other residents on Faust Dr. in Gulfport had the same fate. Three feet of water ripped through some homes, destroying everything.

“I’ve never been trapped before in my life,” said Sherri Enge. “It happened so quickly. There was nothing we could do.”

Enge and her son were rescued by police braving the water. And now, Red Cross volunteers are coming in with supplies for another round of help.

“We’re going to take this one day at a time and try to get through this. That’s why we appreciate the help," added Enge. 

The help came from big distribution trucks run by volunteers like Dennis Chapman, Jr. It was his first day on the job, and his story is like so many others.

Chapman received aid from the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina, and says it was his time to return the favor.

“They helped me out to the fullest,” Chapman said. “So, I have no problem with helping them give back to the people who probably gave me some.”

Tammy Coats came in from Collins to lend a hand.

“I have a passion for helping people,” Coats said. “I love what I do. One of the best decisions I've ever made.”

Joe Boals has been a volunteer for more than 10 years, but his interest started when he watched the Mississippi River flood as a child. 

“My grandmother used to joke with me saying they were going to send me off to fill sand bags,” Boals said. “And at 8 years old, that was something I wanted to do. And when I was finally able and willing and Hurricane Katrina hit I said, 'You know what, my country needs me now and it’s time to go.'”

About 30 volunteers worked in Harrison County Friday.

Officials say they will continue to be in the area assessing damage and doing bulk distributions for as long as the requests for help continue.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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