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Tri-State residents plan aid for victims of Katrina

September 01, 2005|by Pepper Ballard

TRI-STATE

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Even though people left homeless in parts of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina's wrath are more than 1,000 miles away from her Hagerstown home, Barbara Davis has a plan - although rough - about how to help them.

Davis was among many Tri-State residents, businesses and organizations Wednesday brainstorming ways they could lend support to hurricane victims.

Her idea, "Help an American," came to her while she was watching news coverage of the hurricane's aftermath on television Wednesday morning. She felt badly for those who are being shuttled from shelter to shelter.

"I just thought it would be a good idea for Hagerstown to support a grassroots movement," she said. "If people could support a family, set them up with a job, an apartment, give them a place to live until they could either get back to their homes ..."

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Davis freely admits she has never taken on a project like this before. She just felt compelled to do something and asked that if there are others interested in helping put together such a program to e-mail her at b.davis@myactv.net.

Already the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross has written two case reports on evacuees to Hagerstown and has taken about 25 calls from people in the county in search of loved ones in the areas hit, Executive Director Julie Barr-Strasburg said.

She said computer systems are not up and running in the disaster area to enable Red Cross workers to check on family members.

The local chapter will hold a training session Sept. 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those interested in committing three weeks to volunteer in the areas hit, Barr-Strasburg said. The Red Cross requires volunteers meet a series of requirements, including completed training and good health, she said.

Those interested in participating in the training, which will be held at 1131 Conrad Court, should call 301-739-0717, ext. 201.

Shirley Hudson, 73, of Fayetteville, Pa., plans to donate blood Saturday and hopes it can be used to help hurricane victims. She said she is thankful many of her family members who had lived in that part of the country have since moved, but understands what precautions people in that area must take to cope with natural disasters.

"It's really devastating," she said.

Lanny McCullough, 62, and Barbara McCullough, 60, of Hagerstown, have been trying to think of ways to lend their support without getting caught donating money to an unreliable organization.

They said they wish they could just go to the victims and hand them money themselves. They are researching organizations that would be trustworthy enough to take their money and make sure it gets to those in need, they said.

Patrick Cuddy, 25, has found trust in his church, Marlowe Assembly of God in Marlowe, W.Va. Cuddy expects his church will take up a donation Sunday for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

"You have to show your love. Reach out and help those who can't help themselves - your basic principles," he said.

Several businesses and organizations are doing just that. Beverly Healthcare of Hagerstown will be taking donations to support the American Red Cross; Citigroup is brainstorming ways to help; Washington County Hospital is coordinating with the American Hospital Association to assist; students at Hagerstown Community College are getting together to help; and Valley Mall workers are figuring out how they can set up a center for donations, officials from those organizations said Wednesday.

Those who have suggestions on how Valley Mall might help should call Lisa Quick, guest service manager, at 301-582-0701, said Julie Rohm, mall assistant general manager.

Beverly Healthcare asks those who have questions about making donations to the American Red Cross through them to call Leigh Fox, director of admissions/marketing, at 301-797-4020.

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