Wisconsin Red Cross volunteer headed for West Virginia

MILWAUKEE — While the extreme heat and power outages in southeast Wisconsin can be unbearable,some along the east coast have been dealing with those same conditions for nearly a week! On Thursday, July 5th, one Wisconsin American Red Cross volunteer headed out to help those in need.

In West Virginia, thousands are without power, and even food, after strong storms rolled through 11 eastern states last Friday, June 29th.

Linda Arnold is a retired nurse, who left from Mitchell International Airport Thursday to join other Red Cross volunteers in West Virginia.

“They are distraught.  They are confused sometimes. There are a lot of people with medications that need to be refrigerated, or they’re on oxygen that needs electricity,” Patty Flowers, Red Cross Regional CEO said.

“They have four shelters open at this point that I know of in the area that I’m going to,” Arnold said.

Arnold is no stranger to disasters.  She’s been through tornadoes, hurricanes and flooding.

“This is probably trip number 14 or 15.  I have been with the Red Cross only about four years. I’ll be doing health teaching and also preventative kinds of things.  I will also be looking for injuries.  Most people are injured after the storm from the cleanup,” Arnold said.

Arnold will be volunteering for a minimum of three weeks, but is committed to staying as long as need be.  As a health services supervisor, she knows just how hard natural disasters can be on both the body and mind.

“Sometimes people just need to talk about what happened, so we’re here to provide a listening ear. If I get one person who genuinely tells me that they are happy or thankful that I was there and I was able to make a difference, it makes the whole trip worthwhile,” Arnold said.

Three other Wisconsin Red Cross volunteers have already been dispatched to storm-damaged areas.  They left Wednesday, July 4th to provide relief in Ohio and Montana.

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