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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Red Cross asks for local volunteers

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

While there are plenty of volunteers working across the Wabash Valley, Clay County could use a few more.

On Monday, American Red Cross of the Wabash Valley announced it was seeking volunteers from Clay County for the Clay County Disaster Action Team (DAT).

According to Clay County representative Janet Atkins, there are no requirements to be part of the team.

"Paperwork is filled out and background checks take place," Atkins said. "On the national level, they have (other) requirements, but at the local level, we just have a need for volunteers."

Atkins told The Brazil Times the volunteers meet with people who are "forced out of their homes due to fire, flood or other natural disasters" while providing immediate emergency help such as food, clothing, lodging, hygiene supplies, referrals to other community resources and mental health support.

Atkins said currently, Clay County has three teams. Teams include two people, usually husbands and wives.

"My husband and I are a team," she said. "We've been doing it for probably 10 years. We also do national disasters where we go out when there are hurricanes.

"As of the moment, there are three teams (in Clay County). We never go out (alone). We always go out as a team."

Atkins said husband and wife teams are ideal.

"You are right there when called," she said.

Atkins schedules for the Clay County DAT team. She said teams rotate on a monthly basis.

"They're responsible for anytime the Red Cross office is closed and on weekends and possibly during the day time," Atkins said. "Otherwise, (volunteers) will have to come out of Terre Haute."

Atkins said the number of volunteers in Clay County for the American Red Cross has never been as high as hoped.

"We really haven't dwindled," she said. "We've just never had a big amount (of volunteers). We've brought on some more people, but it's hard to get people to commit themselves to be available. It's very worthwhile."

Atkins added two of the Clay County DAT teams are also national disaster volunteers.

"During the last hurricane, one of my teams was down there for weeks," she said.

While there are several volunteers from Vigo County who would be more than willing to travel to Clay County to help, Atkins said she is hoping to see more action in Clay County this year.

"If worse came to worse, (Vigo County) would send somebody," she said. "But we'd rather have our own people out there."

For more information or to become a volunteer for the Clay County DAT teams, call Atkins at 448-9897 or Carol Allen at 443-2801.

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