More relief workers from NOH head to tornado-stricken KY

Many will spend the holidays away from home to help others

Two more disaster workers – volunteers – from Northern Ohio left their homes today to head to Kentucky, where they will join the American Red Cross disaster relief operation in Kentucky.

Al Irwin and Barb Gabel departed from the Greater Akron and the Mahoning Valley chapter headquarters Monday morning, December 20th, in an emergency response vehicle (ERV), fully aware that they will be spending the Christmas holiday away from home.

Al Irwin and Barb Gabel

“It’s the first time in forever I haven’t been with my kids,” Barb said. “They understand. They know this is what I really want to do, so I’m going to celebrate when I get home.”

Al shared similar sentiments. “Especially at this time of year, I can’t even imagine what they’re going through,” he said. “Anything we can to to help alleviate their pain, I’m all in.”

Today, some 470 trained Red Cross disaster workers from all over the country remain on the ground in multiple states, providing shelter, meals, comfort and support after last week’s devastating tornadoes that left behind a heartbreaking trail of destruction. Our hearts go out to all those whose lives have been forever changed by these deadly storms.

  • In Kentucky, hundreds of people remain displaced, and the Red Cross is working alongside state officials and other community organizations to support those staying in emergency shelters and other temporary accommodations, such as state park lodges and hotel rooms.
  • With the help of partners, the Red Cross has served more than 28,000 meals and snacks, distributed more than 16,700 relief items, and provided more than 3,800 individual care contacts to help people with medical or disability needs, as well as emotional and spiritual support during these challenging times.

This will be the third time Al has been part of an ERV crew at a disaster. He expects to be loaded with food, water, and critical supplies when they arrive at their destination in Kentucky, and to then drive into impacted areas to bring much needed relief to people who have suffered so much.

“Anything I’m feeling right now, they have it much, much worse,” Barb said. “Anything I can do to ease their pain and make them happy, I’ll do it.”

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