Richmond Red Cross providing relief to ice-stricken Kentucky

By Jola Szubielski - bio | email

Posted by Colby Rogers

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The governor of Kentucky has asked that his state be declared a major disaster area in the wake of a devastating ice storm.

As FEMA officials tour areas of the state Wednesday, help is pouring in from everyday Americans from all across the country - including the Richmond chapter of the Red Cross.

With one final signature, Ken Strout was on his way to his fourth disaster relief mission this year. By Wednesday afternoon, he'll be in Louisville, KY joining hundreds of other Red Cross volunteers.

Strout is the first relief worker from Richmond to be deployed to the area, which struck by a devastating ice storm that's responsible for several deaths and has left hundreds of thousands of people without power for days.

Strout's immediate mission will be a shelter supervisor.

"I'll find a shelter with probably a lot of people who are confused," Strout said. "They're probably anxious, trying to get back into their homes, maybe emotional issues, displaced from families."

Strout's says his job will be to make sure the community's immediate needs - food, clothing and health issues - are all met.  He says training and experience have taught him they'll need much more than that.

"We'll have to treat everyone individually, see what their needs are," Strout said. "Everybody is unique. One may need clothes, one may have children. Children get traumatized by this. We try to be friends with the kids, have stuffed toys. Its just trying to make it as much like home as possible."

That home may be in the most unlikely of situations, Strout says, but a lifesaving measure for many who have nowhere else to turn.

"If we can get them through the situation, they get a smile on their face and they're able to deal with their own problems, we know we've been successful," Strout said.

Strout says once he gets to Kentucky, his mission may change and he may ultimately assist in going door to door to help those residents who have refused to leave their homes.

The Red Cross says they'll also most likely be sending more volunteers in the next few weeks.

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