Hardeeville Resident Plans to Return to Native Thailand to Aid Tsunami Victims - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/30/04

Hardeeville Resident Plans to Return to Native Thailand to Aid Tsunami Victims

The International Red Cross expects the number of dead from the tsunami in Asia to rise past 100,000. They're calling it the worst natural disaster ever. Because of that, more and more people from our area want to do whatever they can to help the survivors.

A woman who grew up in Thailand wants to go back and work with the relief effort. Loy Simmons lives in Hardeeville, and even though she's been in the US for more than 30 years, she's hoping to go back to her native Thailand and help American Red Cross workers find their way around.

Simmons didn't have to worry about her family's safety this week. "My family lives...in Sam Phram," she told us. "And that's central Thailand. Far away from where the disaster happened."

But she knows enough of the geography along the coast to make a difference, and she speaks the language, so Simmons is offering the Red Cross her services. "I had the same feeling when I saw 9/11 and I figure I want to do something to help these people. I don't have any money but something that I can do."

Simmons knows it won't be easy helping doctors or relief workers through the devastation, but she'd be going with the blessing of her husband. "I said, 'My heart, it hurts and I can't explain it.' And he said, 'Well, if you think you should do it, go ahead, go for it.'"

While she's eager to help whomever and wherever in Thailand, it's the children left without families Simmons feels like she could help the most. "Like I said, I don't have any money but a lot of things I can do beside that. I can give somebody a big hug, and give them a big kiss and things like that."

If the Red Cross does call on Simmons to help in Thailand, she hopes to do some fundraising before she leaves so she can hand money directly to the people who need it most and see their reactions in person and have them write their thanks in a journal she'd bring with her.

If you'd like to donate to the Red Cross, you can do so online: www.savannahredcross.org.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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