South Georgians answer Red Cross call - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgians answer Red Cross call

September 2, 2005

Albany-- Dozens of south Georgians answer an emergency call for Red Cross volunteers.

Friday, the Albany Red Cross chapter held the first of two crash courses to train volunteers, who packed the training room to learn how to help hurricane victims.

The first lesson was that the work of a Red Cross volunteer is never easy. "It's stress." said Daniel Churchman of the Red Cross. "The only thing you can do is take a breathe, swallow, and do your best."

Twenty-six people packed this room at the Albany Red Cross Chapter to train to be a volunteer. By the end of the day, they'll know how to operate an emergency shelter.

"In the morning they learn the rules, regulations and what they are supposed to do and in the afternoon, they get to practice it," said Churchman. "This qualifies people to help run a shelter as we have in Albany and also the ones we have in the affected areas."

Bartell Shanks said the countless stories of the victims whose lives have been torn apart by Hurricane Katrina touched his heart. He told his wife he had to help. "I called her yesterday and said I'm going," he said. "I'd already called the Red Cross and asked what I had to do."

His wife Georgia wanted to help too, and so they both showed up to the volunteer training crash course. "This is a call, a wake up call for America to come together," she said.

Georgia wants to help at the Albany shelter step up for evacuees. And Bartell, a former military man with destructive weather training, plans to travel to the affected areas. "I said you do what you have to do at this end and I'll do what I have to do at that end."

With millions of people along the gulf coast in desperate need of help, Red Cross volunteers are needed now more than ever.

The second training course begins Saturday morning at 8:30. You should call the Albany Red Cross at 229-436-4845 to sign up for the class. It's filling up fast!

There will also be a specialized training course for nurses.


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