Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Returning Volunteers Share Stories of CNY Relief Efforts

Diane Sargent of Lockport sent this picture
of the flooding in Onieda during the first of
her two deployments to assist in the relief efforts.
Once again, our incredible volunteers have come through to help our neighbors in need, this time a little closer to home. A total of 29 volunteers from the Western New York and Finger Lakes Regions have deployed as part of the flooding relief efforts in Central New York. While many of them--including Chief Disaster Officer Ken Turner, who is leading the operation in CNY--remain deployed, some of the volunteers have started making their way back home.

"I saw people in different stages of exhaustion," Carmella Bartimole, a Disaster Mental Health volunteer from Olean, said of her first deployment. "Some had just finished cleaning up, and then were flooded out again. People told me they had lived there their whole life and never seen anything like this."

Volunteers hand out water and clean-up items to area residents
"When I was out in the community doing Disaster Assessment, I saw some houses with water in their first floor, others whose basements were full of water," said Norm Kehl of Strykersville, who also worked in Bulk Distribution during his deployment to the Little Falls and Herkimer area. "We went to a store parking lot with 3-4 trucks filled with water, clean-up kits and other items. They were wiped out. People were very receptive, thinking us for being there."

"I think it was a source of comfort for people to see the American Red Cross on the scene," added Bartimole, who says she is looking forward to deploying again. "It refurbished my faith in people, seeing the community come together like that."

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