Catawba Red Cross chapter helps after Irene

The area chapter of the American Red Cross is sending more volunteers east to assist with clean-up and assistance efforts after Hurricane Irene.

The Catawba Valley chapter of the Red Cross is sending at least two more volunteers to counties in eastern N.C., adding to six volunteers and employees already helping out, said chapter Executive Director Suzan Anderson.

Emergency Services Regional Administrator David Garrison is in Little Washington inside Beaufort County assisting with clean-up and sheltering in the area. More than 400 homes in Beaufort County have been damaged from the storms, Anderson said.

Garrison is a site director and is administering shelter set-up, donation distribution and mass feedings, Anderson said.

Anderson said when the Catawba Valley chapter is finished helping, they will have about 10-12 volunteers in eastern North Carolina.

“At one point, a third of the people deployed were from the (Catawba Valley) chapter,” Anderson said, adding that the volunteers are assisting with mass care sheltering and feeding.

“They are spread all over eastern North Carolina,” Anderson said, adding that some are in Dunn, New Bern and the Beaufort area. “They do what they need to do and then move to another area.”

Except for Garrison, all of the Red Cross helpers are volunteers. Anderson said the volunteers are trained in specific areas and have particular roles at each site.

“They give up 14-21 days of their lives to do this,” she said. “They get extensive training.”