Red Cross volunteer departs to assist with storm relief: “I have a caring heart for helping people”

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OKLAHOMA (WITI) -- In all, at least five people are dead, dozens injured, and three remain unaccounted for after severe storms tore across the middle of the United States over the weekend. More than 70 tornadoes were reported in the Midwest and Plains states. So far, the American Red Cross has deployed seven people from Wisconsin to join the relief efforts. On Monday, May 11th, a volunteer departed from Milwaukee.

Gloria Phenix

Gloria Phenix

Gloria Phenix, a nurse, headed down to Oklahoma as the Red Cross supports disaster relief efforts in Oklahoma and across the southern states as a whole. This is the first national deployment for Phenix -- an active Red Cross volunteer for several years.

"I pray and I meditate a little bit, and take a deep breath," Phenix said.

That's how Phenix prepared for her trip to Oklahoma -- by trying to stay grounded.

"So many of our Red Crossers are very humble, very genuine," Red Cross spokeswoman Barbara Behling said.

This will be Phenix's first time seeing what severe storms can leave behind.

"Only thing I know about it is what I see on TV," Phenix said.


Fierce storms battered the center of the United States all weekend, causing damage from South Dakota and Iowa down to Texas. Heavy rain hit large swaths of Texas and the Southern Plains. Widespread areas of Texas saw 2 to 4 inches of rain over the weekend.

A tornado tore through Van, Texas late Sunday -- rated as an EF-3. Two people were confirmed dead.

Two people were killed when a storm hit a trailer park in Nashville, Arkansas, Howard County Emergency Management coordinator Sonny Raulerson said Monday.


The pair was identified as Melissa and Michael Mooneyhan, according to the Howard County Coroner John Gray.

A young child identified as their daughter was found alive near their bodies. She was taken to a local hospital but did not appear to have any serious injuries. A tornado warning had been in effect in the area.

Early Sunday, a tornado struck the small South Dakota town of Delmont.

Approximately 20 buildings were damaged, and residents were being asked to leave because of unsecured propane tanks, said Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Kristi Turman. There were no serious injuries from the storm, she said, but Delmont had no power, no water and no telephone service.

A powerful storm also swept through Lake City, Iowa, ripping most of the roof off a local high school, said Mayor Gary Fahan. The people who had been inside the school for an awards ceremony left the building when they heard tornado sirens, he said, adding that there were no injuries.

On Saturday, a tornado that struck Eastland County, Texas, west of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, killed one person and injured another critically, the local fire department said.


Phenix says she's happy she's able to help out.

"I have a caring heart for helping people -- that`s mainly what I like to do," Phenix said. "I feel proud when I go down there and volunteer."

If you'd like to become a Red Cross volunteer, you can begin the process by CLICKING HERE.

You can help people affected by disasters like the southern tornadoes & flooding, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.


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