Plattsburgh Woman Assisting in WA Landslide Recovery

By Staci DaSilva |

Published 03/28 2014 05:15PM

Updated 03/28 2014 06:19PM


The death toll in Washington state continues to climb after the devastating landslide in the mountain town of Oso, WA last week.

As of Friday evening, 17 bodies have been recovered. 90 people are still missing.

One North Country woman is traveling there to help out.

Barbara Davis is a school nurse at Plattsburgh City Schools. But for more than 30 years, she was a psychiatric nurse. That's why she was at Burlington International Airport on Friday headed for Washington.

“They've picked 10 that have the background to handle this and when they called me,” said Barbara Davis, American Red Cross North Country Chapter Volunteer. “I didn't hesitate. I said, 'if you need me, I'll go'."

Davis will spend the next 2 weeks at the American Red Cross shelter near Oso, Washington.

Sadly, the death toll is still going up following that devastating landslide last Saturday.

Because of her experience with mental health, Davis will be helping family members, responders and workers get through this unimaginable tragedy.

“The shelter has 30 families. We'll be dealing with the families and part of the families are also doing the digging in that but emotionally, they're having a lot of trouble,” explained Davis.

This isn't Davis' first time. She helped out after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and then Hurricane Ike 3 years later.

She knows, this time will be different.

“I think this will be totally different than hurricanes because I didn't deal as much with death, it was just more loss of possessions and homes. This will be different because I'll be dealing with people who lost family members,” said Davis.

It won't be easy, but Davis says, it will be worth it.

“I volunteer because I feel like I have things that I can offer and I can give to other people. I've had other people volunteer and help me out in different situations and I feel when you can give, you can give back,” explained Davis.

Because of the long-term nature of this recovery, other states will be sending psychiatric nurses after Davis's 2 week stint.

Afterwards, Red Cross volunteers are given their own mental health interviews and counseling, if needed.

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