Bluffton Red Cross volunteers helping in Isaac aftermath

cconley@islandpacket.comSeptember 9, 2012 

Three Red Cross volunteers from greater Bluffton and eight others from South Carolina have been deployed to Louisiana and Mississippi to assist with relief efforts following Hurricane Isaac.

The volunteers, who are trained in disaster response, are performing a range of duties, including logistics, distribution and casework, said Nancy Olson, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross Carolina Lowcountry chapter.

Volunteers also are working in shelters and providing mental-health services to residents displaced or left homeless by the storm, she said.

Bluffton resident Gail Boyle went to Louisiana on Aug. 31, by way of Houston. Since then, she's worked alongside local authorities to make sure help reaches the state's hardest-hit parishes.

"We all have different assignments," Boyle said Friday from New Orleans. "... We try to figure out what their needs are. Do they need shelter? Do they need mass feeding?"

Now that the storm has passed, she said, the focus has shifted to helping families returning to homes that were flooded or destroyed.

"Shelter and food are the most important thing early on," she said. "But later on, it becomes more of, do these people continue to need shelter, (and if not) do they need cleanup kits" for their homes?

Although Boyle has worked at a desk most of the time, her second experience in the field has been no picnic. She has slept in shelters for most of her stay and only got into a hotel room when she was sent to New Orleans on Wednesday.

"My first five days, I was in five different shelters," said Boyle, who is semi-retired.

Boyle also was sent to Memphis and northern Mississippi last year to assist with flooding along the Mississippi River.

Although Boyle signed up for a two-week deployment, her role in relief efforts is starting to wind down and she hopes to come home on Wednesday.

Other local residents deployed by the Red Cross were Stephen Becker, who has worked in various shelters, and Amy York, who is providing mental-health services to residents.

Attempts last week to reach them for comment were unsuccessful.

Hurricane Isaac, the ninth named storm and fourth hurricane of the 2012 season, made landfall in southern Louisiana at about 7 p.m. Aug. 28. The storm is responsible for at least seven deaths in the U.S. and an estimated $3 billion in damage, according to published reports.

Related content:

Red Cross hurricane safety app makes emergency preparedness easier, Aug. 4, 2012

Sun City Red Cross volunteers respond to crises, July 27, 2012

Red Cross new volunteer training scheduled, July 16, 2012

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service