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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Couple heads to East Coast

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Two local volunteers of the American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter recently left the area and headed to Massachusetts as part of a national response for Hurricane Earl.

The Category 3 storm was expected to hit the East Coast and head north sometime Thursday.

Brazil residents Richard and Janet Atkins both left from Terre Haute Wednesday. The duo was alerted they may be going east Tuesday.

"We know that they're going to somewhere in Massachusetts," American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter Executive Director Carol Stevens said. "They have accepted a three-week assignment."

Stevens said the couple would be driving the chapter's Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) to their destination. All eight Red Cross ERVs in the state were heading to the coast in anticipation of the hurricane.

Stevens said the ERV is similar to an ambulance and was specially made for the Red Cross. The vehicle, she said, is equipped with an ambulance chassis.

"Volunteers who are qualified for driving the vehicle are the first ones called out," Stevens said. "We may or may not be asked to send additional people. It depends on what happens."

Red Cross volunteers interested in becoming qualified to drive the vehicle may contact the chapter.

Stevens said the chapter conducts an interview process. Individuals who are accepted into the program must then take a "couple" of training courses, including learning how to drive the vehicle and expectations to face through an operation.

"They must take a safe driving course," Stevens said.

She said the Atkins have wanted to partake in an operation for "quite some time."

"They were available, eager and ready to go," Stevens said. "Fortunately, our vehicle has not been called out in a while."

Stevens said the couple has worked as volunteers for the Red Cross Disaster Action Team for approximately three years.

While there, Stevens said the local couple will eventually be "given a route" to deliver meals to shelters, operational sites or neighborhoods, among other tasks.

"They could also be involved in distributing bulk items to families in shelters, like bottled water, cleanup kits and other items that would be useful for families," Stevens said.

Those interested in making a donation to the Red Cross to help with relief may visit the Red Cross website at www.redcross.org, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. In addition, a $10 donation may also be made by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999.

The American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter services people in Clay, Greene, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties in Indiana and Edgar County in Illinois.

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