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Archive for Monday, September 15, 2008

Another Red Cross volunteer to provide hurricane relief

The Douglas County chapter of the Red Cross already has sent one volunteer into the disaster area left behind by Hurricane Ike - and another will be headed into Texas later this week.

September 15, 2008

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Rick Farrier is about to join the legions of volunteers and others pouring into areas hammered by Hurricane Ike, working to help with recovery, restoration and rescue efforts.

The Lawrence resident, a volunteer through the Douglas County chapter of the American Red Cross, will join an effort that already has drawn another Red Cross volunteer from Lawrence: Kevin Carr, a Kansas University employee who for more than a week has been helping set up communications equipment and systems at hurricane shelters.

And while the storms have passed, such volunteers are and will be dealing with plenty of hardships, said Jane Blocher, executive director of the Red Cross' county chapter. That means no electricity, no air conditioning and "no" of pretty much everything else, other than what can be provided through relief efforts.

"They are staying in shelters right alongside everyone else," Blocher said Monday. "You have to have a real strong constitution to volunteer and go into those environments for three weeks, but they're very committed to the mission."

The American Red Cross, in a national sense, also is facing a financial strain, Blocher said. The national organization's disaster relief fund has been depleted, and the organization had to borrow money to deal with Hurricane Gustav.

A year grappling with wildfires, a record number of tornados, persistent flooding and, now, successive hurricanes has drained resources to the point that the organization is seeking donations.

Area residents interested in helping with donations, Blocher said, may go online to www.redcross.org, or send checks made out to the American Red Cross (put Disaster Relief Fund in the memo line). Donations may be mailed or delivered to the Douglas County chapter at 2518 Ridge Court, Lawrence KS 66046.

For every $1 donated to the fund, 91 cents goes directly to services helping people in disasters, Blocher said. Services include food, shelter, clothing and counseling.

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Westar Energy dispatched utility crews Monday morning to help restore service in hurricane-stricken areas that lost power, spokeswoman Karla Olsen said.

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