Red Cross Volunteers To Assist Midwest Flood Victims

GAUTIER (WLOX) -- The American Red Cross holds many disaster response workshops through out the year. But the group meeting Wednesday in Gautier was one of many across South Mississippi getting ready to take what they've learned on the road.

"In the Midwest right now we have some catastrophic events taking place," said Jerry White with the Southeast Mississippi Red Cross Chapter in Jackson County.  "And it's going to take an awful lot of people to administrated this disaster operation. So we're training and planning."

There are more than 1,400 Red Cross workers already on site in Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and West Virginia. But White says many more volunteers are needed.

"We're giving an absolute baptism in disaster training. And whenever they're finished, they'll be qualified to respond to a disaster operation," White said.

"You just sort of go knowing that you're going to do a job," said volunteer Elihu Carranza of Ocean Springs. "But you're always a little nervous. That's normal."

These Mississippi Gulf Coast residents remember what volunteers meant to the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort, and they're ready for some payback.

"I don't know where I'm heading," said Savaughnie Johnson of Spanish Fort, Alabama. "But living on the Gulf Coast and knowing the kind of help and relief we received from workers from all over the county, it'll just be great to give back to those communities that are now really needing us."

The National Red Cross predicts the need for volunteers to respond to the Midwest floods will last the entire summer. If you would like to volunteer or make a donation, contact your local Red Cross Chapter.