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Northern Nevada Chapter of American Red Cross deploys 17 volunteers to 4 southern states to provide disaster aid



The Northern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross continues to deploy trained volunteers to provide support to families displaced from their homes in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and North Carolina due to the tornadoes and floods.

Five volunteers from various communities around Northern Nevada are departing today for Northern Mississippi to help provide a variety of services to those in need as a result of recent tornados and floods. Two more volunteers will be deployed later this week, one to Northern Mississippi and one to Tennessee.

“We are very pleased with the response we’ve gotten from our volunteers who are willing to travel to these disaster areas and provide the help and support the American Red Cross is so famous for providing,” said Caroline Punches, executive director of the Northern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross. “The commitment and compassion of our volunteers is remarkable.”

Northern Nevada volunteer deployments began as early as April 19 when one person was deployed to North Carolina and another to Mississippi. A third volunteer was deployed to Alabama 10 days later on April 29. An additional four volunteers were dispatched to Alabama the next day (see attached list).

May has been equally busy for volunteers. As floods began to threaten Tennessee, three volunteers were deployed there on May 7 with one more scheduled to depart later this week.

Our Red Cross volunteers provide a number of services which are designed to ensure those people impacted by the tornados and floods are receiving the support they need. Volunteers provide comforting words, hot meals, and shelter until residents find a more permanent situation. Additionally, volunteers are staffing emergency operation centers or acting as community liaisons working with our partners. Other volunteers are providing emotional support and distributing hygiene supplies and clean-up kits.

While Red Cross volunteers are being deployed to disasters in other states, Northern Nevada residents continue to be served by local volunteers, who recently responded to four house fires in Lyon, Douglas and Mineral counties.

In the last 10 months, trained Red Cross volunteers have responded to over 110 home fires and other disasters, providing emergency lodging and financial assistance to nearly 150 families to purchase food, clothing and other basic needs. This emergency assistance has helped them re-establish their homes. Last year the American Red Cross responded to more that 63,000 home fires nationwide, and would like to remind residents to be prepared, and to have an evacuation plan in case of fire.

The Red Cross is committed to teaching people the skills they need to prevent home fires, and helping people recover after a fire happens. At any time of day or night, trained Red Cross volunteers respond to the scene of home fires and provide food, shelter and emotional support, free of cost to those affected.

The American Red Cross, Northern Nevada Chapter covers 87,000 square miles with a population of more than 670,000 people. Our chapter territory is from Tonopah north, with our main chapter in Reno and branch offices in Elko, Incline Village and Winnemucca.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information about becoming a volunteer, health and safety classes, or making a donation to support your Northern Nevada chapter, call 775-856-1000 or visit our website at www.nevada.redcross.org

The following was submitted by a Red Cross volunteer

Stories from Mississippi: Diary on the front line of disaster relief

By Danel Lipparelli

On April 20, I was deployed by the Northern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross for tornados in Mississippi and flew into Jackson. What I saw were huge trees toppled onto homes totally destroying them and people now without homes.

My first week was spent in the areas of destruction offering people encouragement and comfort. It is always an amazing experience to help people who have been affected so drastically. As I as getting ready to go home after finishing that Disaster Relief (DR), on April 27th, tornados stormed through Mississippi causing massive destruction and 35 deaths.

I did not board my plane that morning. Instead, I was handed the Manager Tool Kit for Disaster Mental Health and was on my way to a new experience. This disaster grew far beyond what was initially expected. My previous manager returned two days later and I have had the privilege to learn and work with him. He has been a great mentor.

Working at Headquarters is always a different experience than working in the field. I always want to be in the field with the clients but have quickly discovered that my clients now are the American Red Cross volunteers. My desire is to have every one of them longing, as I do, to come to the next Disaster Relief.

The volunteers have stopped their lives and come to help. They are noble. I have the privilege of encouraging them and helping prepare them to go into the field. Today I got to teach a Psychological First Aid class to 35 Client Case workers.  They left this class feeling more prepared to care for and about their clients.

Tomorrow I have been asked to participate in a Tel-a-thon being held in Jackson to help raise money to support this disaster. I will be interviewed on the roles of Mental Health during a disaster.

I have learned to have no expectations whenever I am deployed. Whatever I am going to be doing, is what I am going to be doing. It doesn’t matter as long as I get to be part of the Red Cross.

American Red Cross, Northern Nevada Chapter volunteers currently deployed to disaster areas

Alabama (Tornados) Date Deployed

William J Phipps, Reno, NV 4/29

Cyndy Hallam, Reno, NV 4/30

Chris Reed, Reno, NV 4/30

Shaley Eiden, Spring Creek, NV 4/30

Virginia Elsner, Reno, NV 4/30

North Carolina (Tornados)

John Lusk, Incline Village, NV  4/19

Mississippi (Tornados)

Danel Lipparelli, Reno, NV 4/19

Brad Guenther, Reno, NV 5/11

Trudy Myers, Carson City, NV 5/13

Karli Epstein, Carnelian Bay, CA 5/11

Charlotte Garber, Reno, NV 5/11

Vicky Pyle, Truckee, CA 5/11

Jim Pyle, Truckee, CA 5/11

Tennessee (Floods)

Walt Ducker, Reno, NV 5/7

Teresa Meredith, Reno, NV 5/14

Kevin Schaller, Gardnerville, NV 5/7

Tanya Milelli, Incline Village, NV  5/7

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