Red Cross sends local volunteers to Gulf Coast

CHENANGO COUNTY – Before Hurricane Gustav had a chance to make landfall this weekend, the Southern Tier Chapter of the Red Cross had already prepared for the disaster relief work that would follow the storm.

The first two volunteers were sent to the Gulf Coast area last Tuesday, nearly a week before Gustav touched down. “Our first two volunteers left in the Emergency Response Vehicle on Tuesday, and we started deploying more volunteers Thursday,” said Southern Tier Chapter Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Smith Gordineer.

Gordineer explained that often the Red Cross will stage volunteers near areas where they will be needed, but outside of harm’s way. “It’s a guessing game where the storm might end up going and where we’ll be needed,” Gordineer said.

So far, the Southern Tier Chapter has sent 28 volunteers to the Gulf Coast, including two from Chenango County. The volunteers have been sent to Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas to set up shelters and aid those who were displaced by the storm. “The Red Cross had 300 shelters in 10 states on Monday night, with 60,000 people in them,” Gordineer said.

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