“Harvey’s the worst one I ever saw watching television,” said Erie resident Ronald Meyers.
Images of destruction in the wake of Hurricane Harvey prompted Meyers to contact the American Red Cross with an offer to help in person.
“They do need money, but it’s very satisfying for a person to go do that. It makes you feel good up here,” he said.
Geoffrey Domowicz, a disaster program specialist for the American Red Cross, said, “We are going to be in need of setting up shelters and… the frontline volunteers, the people that work in the shelter is greatly what we need, right now.”
The American Red Cross Western Pennsylvania said that nearly 40 volunteers from this region are on the ground in Texas and Louisiana; and with a new threat approaching, more volunteers are needed.
“Those folks will be due to come home in the next week or two,” said Domowicz. “So, we will need folks to replace them while people are still sheltering; and of course, depending on what Irma does, what track she takes or Jose tracks, we’re going to need those needs also.”
On Thursday night, 20 people took a big step toward fulfilling that need as prospective American Red Cross volunteers trained at the Sheltering Boot Camp.
Meyers said, “You’ve got to comfort people in different situations that you might run across. You might run across people with nothing. They come in with (only) the shirt on their back.”
A scenario that could soon repeat itself.
“Our entire Eastern Seaboard is, right now, at risk to have this many, this close,” said Domowicz. “And the scary part of it is that we are only halfway through hurricane season.”
The individuals completed training and are screened before are considered for a possible two- to three-week deployment.
The American Red Cross has scheduled events across western Pennsylvania. Learn more about training sessions in your area at redcross.org/.