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Washington Co. Red Cross volunteers likely to help in Midwest

June 13, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Two members of a local American Red Cross chapter could be on their way to the Midwest next week to help flood victims.

Mike Mowen, director of emergency services for the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross, said he received notice Thursday that two of his volunteers were to be put on alert for possible deployment to the Upper Midwest, where weeks of rain have caused heavy flooding in parts of Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin and Missouri.

"They are supposed to be ready to go on a moment's notice," Mowen said. "I'd say there's a good possibility that they will be going."

The two volunteers and one of the chapter's emergency response vehicles will be used to deliver food to isolated flood victims if they are deployed, Mowen said.

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The vehicle is a "mass-care" vehicle that can provide up to 500 meals per day, Mowen said.

"They will go to a work area with a kitchen, the food is loaded in vats and they are given a route to drive to deliver food to people who can't get it," Mowen said.

Of the Washington County Chapter's 20 volunteers, 10 are on a national call list for deployment during disasters and emergencies, Mowen said.

In 2004, four local volunteers went to Florida to assist hurricane victims. One volunteer went to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. And this year, one volunteer went to California to help during the wildfires, Mowen said.

"That's what makes the Red Cross what it is," Mowen said. "People can drop what they're doing and run to a disaster."

Mowen said he has not been told what Midwest state the volunteers would travel to if deployed, though he suspects Iowa, the hardest hit so far, is likely.

He said the two volunteers probably would be deployed for two to three weeks.

How to give to the American Red Cross



Sending volunteers to disaster areas costs the American Red Cross money. Donations should be marked "Midwest floods" or sent to the Washington County chapter.

Donations may be made by phone at 301-739-0717, ext. 201, online at www.redcrosswcmd.org or mailed to American Red Cross, Washington County Chapter, 1131 Conrad Court, Hagerstown, MD 21740.

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