Local Red Cross Volunteers Help Storm Victims - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Local Red Cross Volunteers Helps Storm Victims

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - More than a dozen local Red Cross volunteers are headed to New Jersey to help in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

The two teams of "shelter specialists" left Wednesday morning to make the 14-hour drive to Tinton Falls because of flight disruptions.

For two weeks they will be responsible for assisting other shelter operations volunteers and help with clean up and recovery. It's likely they will be staying at a shelter as well, but that doesn't discourage the volunteers from helping those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

"When you go through something like this you worry about what's going to happen next, you worry about where your next meal is going to come from," said volunteer Tonie Reynolds. "So hopefully the Red Cross can be there to let people know, 'hey take it one day at a time, let's get through today and then we'll start planning for tomorrow.'"

The group of volunteers has been on stand-by since before the storm hit, and they said they're ready to help.

"With those widespread power outages and the airports being closed, that's not necessarily an issue that we always have to deal with. But every disaster brings new challenges, so we always have to try to find new and different ways to adapt so that we can continue to meet the needs," said Regional Director of Communications Beth Ferguson.

Robert Gray isn't headed to New Jersey, but he's still making a difference by donating platelets.

"It gives me a chance to help somebody somewhere," he said.

There's a critical blood and platelet shortage in the affected areas after blood drives had to be canceled in the wake of the storm.

"The roads are shut down. We're having a tough time getting to these hospitals," American Red Cross Communications Manager Regina Raccuglia explained. "[Platelets] can only stay on the shelf for five days. So that's why it's urgent. That's why we're asking people now to come in."

Gray knows all too well how critical platelets can be for cancer patients.

"My youngest daughter was diagnosed with LHL which is kind of a form of leukemia," he said. "My father was a victim of cancer and he passed."

Which is why for him, spending two hours of his day at the Red Cross is not a burden to help someone in need.

To find out how to donate you can go to RedCrossBlood.org

For those who want to help, NewsChannel 5 has teamed up with the Community Foundation of Tennessee for "Give ‘Em A Hand," the Sandy Disaster Response fund. Go to The Community Foundation Of Middle Tennessee Sandy Disaster Response Fund for more information.


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