Red Cross Volunteers help downed passengers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Red Cross Volunteers help downed passengers

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A Flint River Chapter vehicle of the American Red Cross at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport during Sunday night's emergency landing. A Flint River Chapter vehicle of the American Red Cross at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport during Sunday night's emergency landing.
Emergency response at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport on Sunday Night after the Allegiant Air Flight 863 emergency landing Emergency response at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport on Sunday Night after the Allegiant Air Flight 863 emergency landing
Lara Pennington Gill, Executive Director Lara Pennington Gill, Executive Director
The downed Allegiant air craft, flight 863, sitting on the tarmac at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport on Monday The downed Allegiant air craft, flight 863, sitting on the tarmac at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport on Monday
Nigel Poole, Emergency Services Program Manager Nigel Poole, Emergency Services Program Manager
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

A handful of American Red Cross volunteers responded to last night's emergency at the airport.

They worked alongside airport staff to get food and supplies to the 155 passengers and six crew members once they were off the plane.

 Red Cross leaders said they stay ready for any emergency.  The executive director said helping passengers stranded in the airport after an emergency landing is just another day in the life of emergency services.

She said training and preparation had volunteers ready when they were called out of their homes a little after 10pm.

The Red Cross responded to a late night call when Allegiant Air Flight 863 had to make an emergency landing at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport. 

"They were hungry, they were rattled, and it was kind of chaotic for a little while, but everybody stepped in," said Lara Pennington Gill, Executive Director. 

Gill said she and about five or six volunteers got the passengers everything they needed...from food to blankets.  And she said she even ran aboard the plane to get a crying baby his pacifier. 

"The people were so grateful.  They were thankful, and were happy to have food.  And the kids were happy to have a pacifier, so when you can go in there and really help a group of people like that, you get an immediate sense of gratification.  And that's why we have volunteers that do what they do," Gill said.

She said about 150 trained Red Cross volunteers are ready to jump into action at a moment's notice in the Albany area.  And they don't just respond to major disaster events.

"We respond to any kind of disaster.  Any kind of need in the community," said Nigel Poole, Emergency Services Program Manager.

The men and women of the Red Cross can help out in a multitude of ways, from taking victim's information at a desk to going into the field and pulling people out of rubble.

"There's a spot for everybody in the red cross.  The classes are tailored to whatever you choose that you want to do," said Poole. 

And last night just took some compassion and a little hot food.

"There was nobody hurt.  There was nobody upset.  The passengers were calm.  They got their food, and when they left there I think they really got a good sense of what Albany, Georgia and the Red Cross is all about," said Gill.

And after meeting the generous people of Albany, the passengers continued on their way to their final destination. 

The American Red Cross offers an array of classes that focus on different ways to help out in a disaster.  A class to train shelter volunteers is coming up on August 10th.

Find out how you can join the Red Cross's effort to help others and get more details on their classes and programs at www.redcross.org , and select the Flint River Chapter tab.

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