PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Here at home, Pittsburgh volunteers are packing up and are on the road to help recovery efforts from Hurricane Ida.
As Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Louisiana, a couple of Pittsburgh volunteers from the Red Cross are hopping in a van and heading down south to help families.READ MORE: Wolf Administration Warns Of Surge In Student Loan Forgiveness Scams
“The game plan is very simple, we’re assigned to drive this emergency response vehicle which is a mobile feeding station and we’re going to end up in Beaumont, Texas,” said Charlie Williamson, a Red Cross volunteer.
It is a 19-hour drive spanning over 1,300 miles.
It is Charlie Williamson’s 19th natural disaster he’s been deployed to, and he says each one always affects families differently.
“Every disaster response is unique,” he said. “None are exactly the same but one thing we learn in the Red Cross is to be flexible.”
That means making sure he can always help by keeping spirits high.READ MORE: Can Kids Be Harmed By Wearing Masks To Protect Against COVID?
“The Red Cross mission is to elevate suffering in the face of disaster, and we keep that in front of us,” he said. “You can’t allow yourself to get too emotional, you have to stay upbeat in front of clients. Stay as positive as you can and only give them the most accurate information.”
Instead of running away from Hurricane Ida, Williamson and his partner are driving towards it.
They know what they’re in for but say it’s worth it if that means providing comfort for families.
“When you’re providing somebody with food and water, with emergency supplies to clean their house, you see the joy on their face and that’s my reward, that’s the only reward we get,” he said.
Red Cross volunteers are only able to drive 500 miles a day and four hours at a time according to Williamson, so it will be about a 3-day trip.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership Moves 60th Anniversary Light Up Night Celebration To Saturday
In all, the Red Cross says there are 14 volunteers from the Keystone State.