The Southeast Missouri Chapter American Red Cross Disaster Action Volunteer Team has had a tremendous year. This group of committed individuals began the year with a record number of responses to single family fires, disaster relief and catering to a group home fire and business fire. When Hurricane Katrina, Rita and Wilma devastated much of our countries coastal communities these volunteers readily responded again. Forty DSHR volunteers were deployed on national disaster assignment for three weeks in Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi and Texas. Once they arrived at these locations, their duties include Mass Care, Sheltering, Bulk Distribution, Disaster Welfare Inquiry, Logistics and Damage Assessment. Eight of those volunteers took on second shifts of an additional three weeks to go back to the affected areas. Locally two shelters were opened and volunteers spent their days setting up costs, providing three hot meals a day, assisting with finding loved ones and providing emotional support to 289 hurricane victims who, for seven weeks, called these shelters.
In Southeast Missouri, the group remained committed to training, preparedness and mitigation as they worked to expand their knowledge and capabilities, to prepare their community for disaster and expand their response capacity. In March when tornadoes and severe weather affected Southeast Missouri, the Disaster Action Team Volunteers again answered the call for help. Arriving at the scene of a deadly tornado in Perry County one hour after the incident, the Disaster Action Team offered supplies and resources to Emergency Personnel and Families at the scene. Working into the night, the crew reassembled the next morning and immediately began doing some Damage Assessment to assist county emergency management in getting Federal Assistance through declaration. Over 40 families were assisted t through the Southeast Missouri area, volunteers worked 10-days to ensure that all of the clients immediate disaster-caused needs were met. The people affected by these storms were very appreciative of the compassion, concern and kindness of the volunteers and the over 2,800 hot meals that were prepared and served to them.
Through the dedication, training and experience of the American Red Cross Action Volunteer Team, Southeast Missouri can rest easy knowing there are people willing and committed to assisting those in need during times of disaster. They have combined, helped tens of thousands of disaster victims on a national level and thousands in their locale. Words cannot express what an impact this team has made on the area. These volunteers are the core of this organization and through them the Red Cross is able to fulfill its mission. They are appreciated for their efforts and expect nothing in return for their involvement with the organization. The entire Southeast Missouri community is impacted by the work of the Disaster Action Team Volunteers. This group displays a tireless commitment, allegiance to service and commitment to excellence.