Checking in with local volunteers who are helping with Irma and Harvey

Sioux Falls, S.D. - Hurricane Irma continues to weaken, but the path of destruction remains. The same is true in Texas following Hurricane Harvey.

September 8, 2017. Wharton, Texas. Debra and Robert of Wharton, Texas, eat their lunch after getting the meal from and Emergency Response Vehicle that traveled to the area. Debra said that she is grateful for the Red Cross coming around as they begin the clean-up of their flooded home. Photo by Chuck Haupt for the American Red Cross

"The more people the better off other people are that need the help," Red Cross volunteer, Jacque Kahler said.

Red Cross volunteer Jacque Kahler left to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts at the end of August.

“They didn’t complain. They didn’t know what their home was like. If it was still standing or if they even had a home. So I know there were a lot of people that were afraid if they went home. They’d be out on the streets,” Kahler said.

After one week back home, Kahler left for Florida Tuesday to help with Hurricane Irma.

“They need help. That’s what the Red Cross is all about. I’d just as soon, if I can do it. If I feel up to it. I’m willing to go,” Kahler said.

Anthony Edelen is another South Dakotan who left for Texas to help.

“When I got down here the majority of the areas that were affected were still underwater and it’s been, I think a week and a half now since I’ve gotten here, and there’s actually, there’s still sections of the city that are still underwater with four to five foot of water,” Vermillion resident, Anthony Edelen said.

His work is helping victims deal with the region's wide-spread flood damage.

“Us as a core group have been helping people to give the proper protocol to actually allow them to do things that they need to do to get their home into a pre-loss condition. It’s this power to give that has really pushed us to do what we can do for the people of Houston,” Edelen said.

Many believe the best of humanity shines during these disasters.

“To see people come together of all faiths of all walks of life, of all political parties, and say what’s important is that we go in and alleviate human suffering and that kind of crosses all divides,” Eastern South Dakota Red Cross Executive Director, Jennifer Ross said.

The Red Cross has nearly 3,000 volunteers in Texas and Louisiana and about 1,000 in the southeast for Irma. They include about 50 volunteers from North and South Dakota. That number continues to grow as airports begin to reopen. Volunteers with the Red Cross in Sioux Falls said on average 91 cents of every dollar goes directly to those affected by disasters.



 
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