The American Red Cross has launched a massive response for disaster relief in Houston. Hundreds of volunteers from across the country, including some from right here in the Capital Region, are traveling south to provide shelter, comfort, and food to those in the hardest hit areas.

However, due to the large-scale, growing devastation, the Red Cross needs all the help they can get. So, on Monday, the Red Cross held the first of three planned rapid boot camp sessions to train anyone willing to lend a hand.

Kimmy Venter with the American Red Cross said she was thrilled with Tuesday morning’s turnout, especially with such short notice.

“I mean, we just started talking about this yesterday and we already have 20 people in there ready and willing to go and help people in need,” said Venter.


Danny Lynch is one of those ready and willing to go.

“Whatever they need is what I’m willing to do,” said Lynch.

Lynch had previously traveled to help in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Ground Zero in New York City, and to Schoharie to help after Irene.

So, while Tuesday’s session may not have been Lynch’s first disaster response, he says it’s his first time volunteering with the Red Cross. He says he’s hoping to provide the one on one approach the organization is known for..

“I think the difference from an outside point of view, we’re not in shock, they are,” said Lynch. “So some basic things I’m assuming they won’t do just because they’re worried about other extraneous things, pets or family members.”

Dan Enea says he showed up to the session for much the same reason. He too has responded to disasters before, but under much different circumstances; He is a funeral director by day.

Either way, Enea says any help makes a difference.

“It’s quite an experience and it’s very rewarding that’s for sure,” said Enea. “And if you can’t go, then get on your phone and send a text to donate.”

On the other hand there’s Mary Lyons Scofield, who has been a member of the Red Cross for years, but said Harvey will be her first disaster deployment.

“I just want to give back,” said Scofield.  “A lot has been given to me over the years, so I want to demonstrate my gratitude if I can.”

The Red Cross is holding two more Harvey response trainings. One in Glens Falls on Wednesday, and another in Utica on Thursday.