DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – While the southeast U.S. is evacuating the predicted fallout from Hurricane Florence, some volunteers from the Miami Valley are racing toward the storm.
Bobby Johnson was already packed for a camping trip when the American Red Cross called to ask him if he would deploy.
By Wednesday morning, the long-time volunteer was loading supplies and personal items into an emergency response vehicle (ERV).
First he’d drive the large van to Cincinnati to pick up another volunteer and the pair would head toward the South Carolina coast. After Hurricane Florence hits, they’ll be assigned neighborhoods where they’ll distribute hot meals twice a day.
Johnson estimated this was his eighth deployment.
“I love to go out and help people in need,” Johnson explained. “That’s what the American people are all about is helping each other when we have trouble.”
Johnson said, based on previous experience, he expects the storm to cause flooded streets, downed trees and impassable routes.
“Sometimes the conditions can be a little rough when you get there,” he said. “Of course you say a little prayer and try to be as calm as you can.”
The Dayton-Cincinnati area Red Cross has already sent about 20 volunteers to areas in the expected storm path.
Dayton chapter executive director Corey Paul said, “We have volunteers that will be working in shelters, we have volunteers that will be rolling the ERV and doing mobile feeding or bulk distribution, we have volunteers that are IT professionals.”
Volunteers eligible for deployment must train extensively in disaster preparedness.
If you’d like to financially support the Red Cross or become a volunteer, click here.