PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – More Red Cross volunteers from the Philadelphia area are headed south to help with Harvey relief efforts.
So far, 12 members of the Eastern Pennsylvania chapter, along with three emergency response vehicles are either in or headed to communities ravaged by the storm.
It’s Jerry Hemingway’s first deployment as a Red Cross volunteer. He’s fulfilling a goal he’s had since seeing news coverage of a hurricane years ago.
“I saw the Red Cross out there, and they were just out there, they were in the mud, they were in the rain, and everything else and I said, I would like to do that, to help other people,” he said.
Hemingway’s partner for the trip is longtime Red Cross staff member Mike Kiley-Zufelt, who admits heading into the devastation he’s only seen in pictures and video is still nerve-wracking.
“Anxious, nervous, strangely motivated to get down there and try and alleviate the suffering that we’re seeing occur,” he said.
Thomas Grace and Pam Forster are part of the PA-4 Disaster Medical Assistance Team.
“We have a team of 35. I have doctors, nurses, paramedics and EMTs who are the primary medical people,” said Grace.
“Whenever anybody is in dire need, our heart goes out to them, and this is what we train for. This is when we are at our best, when people are at their worst,” Forster said.
Other Red Cross volunteers are helping storm victims without even leaving Philadelphia.
“We have a separate set of volunteers who are taking Harvey only phone calls, and those volunteers tell people where they can go for shelter, what they can do to be safe,” said Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes, Red Cross of Eastern PA CEO.
Once in place in the flood zone, the men will help provide immediate needs to those displaced, including food, shelter and clothing.
On Tuesday night, New Jersey Governor Christie approved an Emergency Management Assistance Compact request for National Guard resources to be deployed to Texas from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, to assist with Hurricane Harvey emergency response efforts.
“With real-life experience and top-notch training, the emergency response members from our Joint Base and our State Police are invaluable resources that will help lift Texas out of the devastation and despair caused by Hurricane Harvey,” Governor Christie said. “I will continue to make good on my promise to authorize and deploy every available resource possible for the tens of thousands of disaster victims who need rescuing, and who will need our recovery assistance in the days and weeks ahead.”
Eight Army National Guard crew members, including four pilots and four crew chiefs, and four Air National Guard rescue personnel will depart the Joint Base and arrive in Dallas come Friday, accompanied by equipment that will include two UH-60 Blackhawks, one outfitted with rescue hoist and equipment.