Red Cross seeking reinforcements after double strike of Hurricanes

Red Cross seeking reinforcements after double strike of Hurricanes (WKEF/WRGT)

TROY, Ohio (WRGT/WKEF) -- The back to back destruction from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are putting the Red Cross in overdrive. As resources stretch thin, the organization is looking for all the help they can get, and are resorting to special training courses.

Dana Shawler is in that class. When you're a volunteer, everyone has a story, but she is struggling to turn hers off.

“I've cried every day watching the Weather Channel. Today is the first day I haven't cried,” Shawler said.

Her mother lives in Florida, and six days ago she made the slow trek to the Miami Valley. She and her husband were stuck in traffic, but escaped the worst of Hurricane Irma. Shawler says her mother’s home is without power, and their neighborhood is low on food. Dana's favorite places are destroyed.

'I’ve been to St. Thomas, I've been to Puerto Rico, I've been to St. Barton,” Shawler listed.

Now, she's been to the Red Cross and is eager to help and eager to learn. “Zero to Hero” training is a crash course to be in the Red Cross, and was last seen during Hurricane Katrina. Marc Cantrell is doing the training in Troy. To date, 200 volunteers are in Texas, and another 100 were pre-stationed in Florida.

“There are some individuals in Texas who will be transferred to Florida,” Red Cross official Randy Earl said.

Cantrell is training the reinforcements. He expected two people on Tuesday, and twenty people showed up

“You get enough time to get a sleep, and you get up the next morning, and you're ready to roll again,” Cantrell told the new recruits, “Sometimes people might have some things they might not be able to handle.”

Shawler said seeing little kids or adults with developmental disabilities suffering were her breaking points, but as someone who works with adults with disabilities she believes she can be of great assistance. Her new found action is giving her volunteer story an end, right at the beginning.

“I finally turned off the Weather Channel, and now I'm at Red Cross getting helped, getting trained,” Shawler said.

So far, there have been two “Zero to Hero” sessions in Troy, and another in Dayton. These newly trained volunteers could be deployed in the next ten days.

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