Richmond area Red Cross volunteers heading to Joplin

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond chapter of the American Red Cross is busy putting together a team to send to tornado wrecked Joplin, Missouri.

Leadership in this building has been busy; in addition to this latest disaster in Joplin, volunteers have been deployed all across the country.

Jonathan McNamara with the Red Cross says, "It's not only the tornadoes, but also the wildfires out in the Midwest and also the flooding, so our organization is meeting the challenges across the country wherever they are, and they will continue to do so in the days and weeks to come."

As severe weather and other large scale emergencies plaque the country, the local Red Cross is stepping in to help.  Organizations in the Joplin, Missouri area will respond to immediate needs like food and shelter, but the Richmond team will help with continuing clean up efforts.  It's the Disaster Human Resource Network that's been waiting by the phone.

Paul Hundley says, "That is the group of individuals both volunteer and staff that commit to deploy to operations across the country at any given time within usually 24 hours of notice."

McNamara says, "They'll pack up and leave their families to help neighbors that our states away, and it's just an incredible group of people and without them we would be able to do what we do."

Paul Hundley recently deployed for three weeks to Fayetteville, North Carolina.  He helped manage about 70 volunteers assisting in tornado clean up efforts: a task that's not always easy.

Hundley says, "You see the pictures on the TV, but it does nothing in comparison to actually stepping out of a car door and actually viewing it in person.  Are you going to find someone under the rubble that has survived? Are you going to find someone under the rubble who hasn't?

The Richmond Chapter of the Red Cross is dedicated to helping out with these national disasters, but they will also continue to focus on local responsibilities like house fires.

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