The Purdy family pitches in - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

The Purdy family pitches in

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March 14, 2007

Americus--   Disaster relief is a family affair for some folks in Americus. Five members of the Purdy family have worked with the American Red Cross there for years, long before a tornado devastated the town. Now, they're dedicating even more time to help people recover.

When a tornado whirled through Americus two weeks ago, the Americus-Sumter County Red Cross quickly responded. They've been going ever since.

"It's been kind of hectic. In the beginning, we were all rushing in to help and trying to get as much done as we could," said Elisa Purdy.

Things have died down a little since that first week, but 19-year-old Elisa Purdy continues to stay busy. "Right now, I'm just typing thank you cards for donations we've gotten so far," said Purdy.

Some college students spend their spring break in other places. "They're probably in PC about now or somewhere in Florida on the beach," laughs Purdy.

Instead of the beach, Elisa has volunteered 12 hour days during the recent Sumter County disaster.

"Since it hit, I've been doing a little bit of everything. I ran on an ERV which is an Emergency Response Vehicle and I helped deliver meals to people who didn't have any power. I've been answering phone calls, answering questions."

She didn't hesitate to respond but that desire to help runs through her blood.

"My mom motivates a lot of it," said Elisa.

Her mom is Wanda Purdy, a Red Cross Emergency Services Associate still amazed at the damage done not just in the county but at the Red Cross alone.

"Our disaster trailers, two of them were completely gone. They were thrown over into the next neighborhood," said Purdy. Only pieces of the trailers remain. Some disaster supplies were found in a far away tree.

"We had a blanket and a cot and we also had a cot that was found in a field above Montezuma," said Purdy.

It'll be hard to replace everything. But disaster aside, it's been a family affair. "It feels good.  We enjoy helping," said Purdy. It was another chance for the Purdy family to come together. A father, mother, two sons and a daughter all have Red Cross blood in their system.

"They were up and we were down here by 7 o'clock several mornings and they were up and rolling," said Purdy. The way things are rolling, there's no telling when the service will stop. "As long as it takes," said Purdy.

"I have never seen the Red Cross needed so much in this area," said Elisa.

So get used to seeing the Purdy family. "I think it makes it really special that it's a family thing," said Elisa.

They're sure to be the smiling faces or helping hands you see in the present and future times of disaster.

Ken Purdy helped out during the Flood of '94 and is a CPR and First Aid Instructor. Teenagers Alex and Will Purdy are Red Cross lifeguards and instructors. Elisa is a CPR instructor and has been certified since she was in the 3rd grade.

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