Four local people who volunteered through American Red Cross have traveled south to assist the victims of Hurricane Florence, which brought high winds and heavy rains to North Carolina on Friday.
The area’s Red Cross region, which stretches north up to Canada and west to Utica and Watertown has sent 32 volunteers in all to Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C., said Michel Lee of the organization’s Glens Falls office.
The local people include Dennis Therrien of Gansevoort, Joanne Wilson of Queensbury, Kevin Coffey of Saratoga Springs and Josh Moskowitz of Schuylerville.
Moskowitz, also a staff member of the Red Cross, was in Wake Forest, North Carolina, at 2:30 p.m. Friday in a shelter that had a capacity of around 500 people but was only one-third full, he said.
At the time, there was no urgency at the shelter as the storm was nearing.
“I think we are seeing the calm before the storm,” he said during the afternoon interview. “We are a good 100 miles inland from the coast. … The wind is starting to pick up and the rain is steadier. For the most part, folks are sheltering in place.”
In the shelter with more than 100 relocated storm victims, fearing the worst, Moskowitz said the best technique to relax those around him is to listen.
“I talked to an elderly woman today that didn’t want to leave her home and her kids told her to leave it,” he said.
She had lived in the house with her family for 40 years, he said.
“That’s where she felt safe, that’s where she felt comfortable,” he said.
But Moskowitz stressed that residents facing a storm like this must be willing to get out of its path.
“It’s so important,” he said. “There’s no reason in any storm, especially this one, for people to take that chance. In the area we are in, there are multiple shelters in just one county. … It’s definitely worth it.”
Moskowitz mentioned that wh would be leaving Wake Forest shelter because of needs at other locations.
Lee, at the Glens Falls office, said the volunteers spend around 14 days out in storm areas, with days 1 and 14 spent on travel.
“This area — granted our region is 24 counties — we have the most amazing volunteers,” Lee said. “We put the word out … and folks just come and (say), ‘OK, we can do this.’ … I think we have the most awesome volunteers in this organization.”