SWGA American Red Cross teams head to disaster areas - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

SWGA American Red Cross teams head to disaster areas

Volunteers are getting ready to go to Baton Rouge. (Source: WALB) Volunteers are getting ready to go to Baton Rouge. (Source: WALB)
Relief trucks from Albany have already been deployed. (Source: Andy Brubaker) Relief trucks from Albany have already been deployed. (Source: Andy Brubaker)
Andy Brubaker is the executive director of the Red Cross in Southwest Georgia. (Source: WALB) Andy Brubaker is the executive director of the Red Cross in Southwest Georgia. (Source: WALB)
Jim Ball is one of the volunteers leaving in the coming days. (Source: WALB) Jim Ball is one of the volunteers leaving in the coming days. (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

American Red Cross volunteers from around the country are packing their bags and heading to hurricane and flood ravaged areas of the Southwest Gulf.

Some of those volunteers are from South Georgia. 

More than a dozen people will likely be in Texas or Louisiana by the end of the week. 

On Monday morning, one Red Cross volunteer learned he's going to Baton Rouge within the next 24 hours.

"Mainly I do disaster assistance teams work and fire calls," said Jim Ball as he recalled his previous work with the Red Cross. 

Ball has been a volunteer since 2010.

Until now, he's only volunteered locally. 

"It's hard work. There's nothing easy about it, but it's very rewarding," explained Ball. 

On Monday morning Ball met with another man who will likely be working with him. 

Ball is one of 15 volunteers from Southwest Georgia who is signed up to go.

One volunteer is already working in Houston and four others are in Baton Rouge with these relief trucks, organizing supplies and waiting to go to set up a shelter. 

"This is a significant catastrophe in the United States," said Executive Director Andy Brubaker.

Brubaker said he will be going to Texas or Louisiana very soon. He explained that Red Cross teams are doing logistical work right now. He said the Red Cross is in the process of preparing shelters for as many as 60,000 people. 

Brubaker said the Red Cross is already sheltering 1,800 people. 

Volunteers have supplies in place for another 28,000 and the supplies for another 22,000 people are in route to Texas and Louisiana.

"As the water recedes and the rescue efforts come down, we'll be ready to go with waves of volunteers who have come in mass throughout the United States to set up shelters and feeding programs as well," explained Brubaker. 

Both Brubaker and Ball recall the many Red Cross volunteers who came to Albany seven months ago after the tornadoes.

They said now it's their time to give to another community in need. 

"If you want to get involved this is an easy way to do it, and a nice way to do it," said Brubaker. 

The Red Cross is accepting monetary donations. Brubaker said you can donate securely here

Brubaker said he thinks shelters could stay open for several months. 

That's why here in South Georgia, the Red Cross will be holding a training so more people can be certified to go to disaster areas. 

Training will be in Albany on Saturday, September 2 at 9:30 a.m. at the Red Cross office.

"It's an opportunity of a lifetime to go and serve your fellow man and woman in a time of need. It's very rewarding. While it can be stressful at times and there can be a lot of energy and effort put into it, when you come back it's such a rewarding experience," explained Brubaker. 

Anyone interested in attending can contact Sandy Cole at (229) 436-4845.

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