South Mississippians Help Tennessee Tornado Victims - - The News for South Mississippi

South Mississippians Help Tennessee Tornado Victims

It's being called one of the worst disasters since Katrina. Powerful twisters ripped through parts of Tennessee this week destroying homes, businesses, and taking dozens of lives.

Just seeing the devastation inspired retiree and Red Cross volunteer Jo Longly to pack her bags and head to the neighboring state to help.

"I have a great time when I volunteer, people get what they need," Longly said.

Longly joins nine other South Mississippians on this relief trip organized by the American Red Cross.

Southeast Chapter Director Paige Roberts says the organization's mission is to provide as much aid as needed after a disaster strikes.

"Whether it is a hurricane, or tornado, or flood, when you are traumatized by a disaster your needs are basically human in that you need sheltering, feeding, and comforting," Roberts said.

The local volunteers will help out in the tornado damaged state for about three weeks, doing a variety of jobs.

"We have a mental health service volunteer who is retired sociologist, we have people helping in technology as well as sheltering."

Teacher Gloria Lawrence decided to leave her classroom and work in Tennessee.  Lawrence says the overwhelming support out-of-towners gave her after Katrina encouraged her to pay back the favor.

"I thank them, and I will volunteer my time to help someone else," Lawrence said.

According to Roberts, the Red Cross in Biloxi and Hattiesburg are also sending trucks and volunteers to help the Tennessee tornado victims.

By Patrice Clark

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