Red Cross Forced to Relocate Second Harvey Volunteer Training Due to Overwhelming Response

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) - Volunteers from all across the Country, including from upstate New York, are heading south to help the victims of the widespread devastation wrought by Harvey.

Due to the demand for volunteers, the Red Cross is holding several “boot camp” training sessions for anyone interested and willing to travel south and lend a hand.

On Wednesday morning, more than 100 people registered for the second session of the week in the area.

The turnout far exceeded expectations and forced a last-minute location change to the Glens Falls Civic Center to accommodate the crowd.

Volunteers from all walks of life made their way to Glens Falls by the dozens, from recent graduates to retirees, army veterans, and nurses.

Tiffany Jones is an RN and says she is at a point in her life where she’s fortunate enough to be able to make the 2-week commitment.

‘I just felt like this was the right thing to do,” said Jones. “I had the opportunity to deploy and there’s a lot of people who need help, so yeah, this is really important to me.”

Husband and wife Lisa and Charlie Clark tell me they also lucked out with accommodating employers allowing them to make the trip.

“Centers Health Care has been amazing,” said Lisa Clark. “They were like absolutely, go. We will pay your salary for two weeks. Please, go help.”

Lisa Clark she, a registered nurse and, and her husband, a firefighter, both have skills to offer in an emergency situation.

“We both have things to offer that can help people in any situation, but especially this one, as far as rescue and health,” said Lisa Clark. “But I don’t care if it’s setting up shelters and handing out food though.”

While the Red Cross says health care and mental health professionals are certainly in high demand in Houston right now, Maureen McGuirl, an instructor of disaster relief services, says volunteers make up 97% of the Red Cross disaster workforce. A volunteer in any capacity is helpful.

“Whatever your background, you can help,” said McGuirl.

Michael Dittmer works on a commercial ship. He only works for half the year and says he’s used this time off to help out after an emergency before.

In 2004, Dittmer went to Thailand after the Tsunai, and in 2012 he was in Long Island after Sandy hit.

Dittmer says this will be is first time working with the Red Cross.

“For me, it was something that was just a no brainer,” said Dittmer. “It’s my third time doing something like this. If I have the free time and the ability to do it why not go down and help where I can.”

The next Red Cross volunteer training session is Thursday in Utica from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The Red Cross says it will cover all training and travel costs. Volunteers must be able to commit to at least 14 days away from home.


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