F-M Area Prepares to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

Twenty-two people have already been deployed to Houston

FARGO, ND — At least 23 people have died in Hurricane Harvey which has just been downgraded to a tropical depression.

The Red Cross Dakotas Region is offering training to those that want to step up and help in the Gulf Coast.

The American Red Cross website crashed Tuesday, after receiving too many volunteer applications to help Hurricane Harvey’s victims.

“The need to assist them is great and it’s going to get even greater as the days progress,” said Tom Tezel, disaster officer from the Red Cross Dakotas Region.

More than 18,000 applications are sent in daily and right here in the F–M area, they’re receiving more than five every day.

The Red Cross Dakotas Region is offering training for people who would like to be deployed to Houston.

“We want to offer local training so that people who have an interest in going, as soon as we get the word, we can then send them down there so they can help,” Tezel said.

Richard Reis is one volunteer who says he’s eager to travel to Houston and do what he does best: help people when they need it the most.

“There’s always something to be done and so I’m just expecting to be there and be able to rock and roll with whatever their needs may be,” Reis said.

Reis got involved at the Red Cross six years ago, after retiring from work.

“I thought it’d be good to give back to the community. They’re good people,” Reis said.

Volunteer Mike Clevenger took the training class for a different reason.

“I felt like someone was calling me and I needed to do something,” Clevenger said.

People who get deployed to Houston will mostly be helping in the shelters.

“You know all those people who have displaced and lost their homes, so they would go there and make sure people have a safe place to stay, something to eat and care for those individuals,” Tezel said.

For anyone that’s hesitant about going right into the heart of a natural disaster, the training class is still recommended.

“Getting this training is not just for Hurricane Harvey,” Tezel said. “It can be right here to help your neighbor across the street or down the road.”

Anyone who would like to become a Red Cross volunteer has to fill out an application, pass a background check and take the training class.

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