By Jim Melwert, Jenn Bernstein
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The first volunteer from the American Red Cross’s Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter left for the devastated area around Oklahoma City (See Related Story).
Danelle Stoppel, a mental health supervisor, flew out Tuesday morning, heading to what really is every parent’s worst nightmare.
“It’s very difficult for the families and the communities to deal with the devastation — especially children. I don’t think you ever get used to losing children, it’s just something we cope with in disasters.”
When asked what to say to someone dealing with this she replied simply, “mostly you just listen.”
“I have a frame of reference, because I was in Tuscaloosa two years ago with a very, very similar tornado. That was the day that it was six or seven states, this is very – at least I believe it’s very similar. It’s devastation.”
Stoppel expects helping the displaced will be their first job.
“I would imagine that the first couple of weeks will be sheltering. I understand from the news this morning, there’s over 1,000 houses lost, so sheltering is probably going to be one of the main functions that I’ll be involved in.”
Stoppel is scheduled to arrive in Oklahoma at noon Tuesday.
Stoppel is the first volunteer from our region, but more could be called up in the coming days. The Red Cross says this is a reminder of the need for volunteers. They say more information on volunteer training can be found at RedCross.org.