Community Spirit--Hurricane Relief Volunteers - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/30/05

Community Spirit--Hurricane Relief Volunteers

Residents of the Gulf Coast have literally lost it all, and now the recovery is underway. Hurricane Katrina has left hundreds of thousands of people homeless and without the bare necessities of life.

Some of our neighbors are helping. While most of us are counting our blessings and perhaps saying a prayer for those who are dealing with Katrina, others are heading to the destruction to bring some relief to so many suffering through the disaster.

Katrina slammed into south Florida, refueled and regained strength in the gulf, then roared through parts of Mississippi and Louisiana. She brought flooding and destroyed just about everything in her path. Hundreds of thousands were left homeless and in the dark.

"You can't imagine how overwhelming it is, all of the destruction," said John Wright with the Savannah chapter of the American Red Cross. "This is probably one of the worst storms in the area since Camille."

Our friends and neighbors are coming to the rescue. Crews from Palmetto and Savannah Electric and the Palmetto and Savannah chapters of the American Red Cross are on the way. Carol Siddall of the Palmetto chapter is a veteran disaster volunteer. "Having been there and seeing what just a heavy rainfall can do, I can't imagine what it's going to be like with this," she said.

About a half dozen Savannah volunteers and staff are also going. They'll be meeting trucks to provide shelter and food, stock supplies and perform physical and mental health assessments.

Electric crews will be hard at work trying to restore power to hundreds of thousands of homes. "The repair crews will be picking up downed wire, putting up broken poles," Savannah Electric's John Kraft explained.

More volunteers are sure to follow from the Coastal Empire and Low Country. But today we honor the Red Cross volunteers and electric crews for leading the way and being part of the WTOC Community Spirit.

These groups will probably be gone for at least a week. We certainly applaud their efforts and wish them a safe return.

Questions or comments concerning WTOC Community Spirit should be directed to Dawn Baker, dbaker@wtoc.com.

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