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Local Residents On East Coast For Hurricane Relief

The Indiana Red Cross is expected to spend three weeks on the coast, and Duke plans to have its crews stay about two weeks.

Red Cross

Photo: Mary Ann Soll/Red Cross

Emergency Response Vehicles sit waiting in Whitestown, NY for deployment along the coast.

A number of local Red Cross volunteers and utility workers are on the east coast to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

Brown County Registered Nurse Mary Ann Soll and Bloomington resident, Dan Harrell left this weekend for Whitestown, New York in a Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle.

Their mission: to provide food to residents displaced by flooding. Once water levels are down, and the power is restored, they will also assist in the cleanup of homes damaged by the storm’s floodwaters.

According to Soll, who has been volunteering with the Red Cross for more than a decade, it takes a special calling to keep going from disaster to disaster.

“Because I’m a nurse,” she said, “I have a caring heart. People are so needy out in the field that we visit. Learning their stories, and just being there for hugs, having been through similar things in our town.”

Duke Energy Line Crew Supervisor and Columbus resident, Kevin Morgan, is currently on route to Binghampton New York more than 100 other Hoosier Duke workers. He says outside crews like his are a big relief to residents who have been without power for days.

“I’ve seen elderly people break down in tears when you come into town,” he said. “It’s that small bit we can do to get them back to normalcy, if that makes sense. A lot of people have lost a lot of household items and just that little bit bit we can do for them.”

The Indiana Red Cross is expected to spend three weeks on the coast, and Duke plans to have its crews stay about two weeks.

Dan Goldblatt

Dan Goldblatt is the Multi-media Producer for WFIU/WTIU News. A graduate of Indiana University, he studied journalism and anthropology. He currently lives in Bloomington with his cat, June Carter.

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