Monday, May 10, 2010

PGH Red Cross Helps Flood Victims

Two local Red Cross workers are in Tennessee this week helping with flood relief efforts. Renee Willow is the Red Cross Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter volunteer coordinator. She arrived in Nashville last week and will remain on site until next week. Her role in Nashville is to process volunteers and then find places for them to serve. She says translators are in high demand but people with all skills are needed. “It is so exciting when they walk through that door and the match can instantly happen,” says Willow. She says the Red Cross can train anyone with an open mind and a willingness to work. Many of the volunteers are coming from local volunteers organizations but some are just walking in off the street from neighborhoods that have not been impacted by the flooding. Willow says the normal one-week Red Cross training is compacted into a day or less in an effort to get the volunteers out on the streets as soon as possible. Jobs ranging from welcoming other volunteers and staffing shelters and feeding centers to driving trucks and working on computer systems are being filled by volunteers that come past Willow’s desk. She says she remembers one woman who went through the training process and was put to work that same day, “She popped back into the office at the end of the day with a big smile on her face, thanked us for being able to utilize her and she would be back tomorrow.” Willow says that meant she was doing her job and the flood victims were getting the help they needed, “it was a good feeling.”

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