Red Cross of the Dakotas Deploys Three to California for Wildfire Recovery
two are from north dakota and one is from south dakota
FARGO, N.D. — It’s been a few months since the California wildfires have been extinguished.
The cleanup and recovery means there’s still a long road ahead for those affected.
A few people from the Dakotas are doing their part to assist those without a home.
When Sandra Heggeness was 11-years-old, it was the Red Cross who came to her and her family’s rescue as they tried to survive through a hurricane in Galveston, Texas.
“We ended up with five feet of water in our house and we were evacuated by boat to a shelter. That was a big impact on me and it made me want to give back not necessarily to that community but to anyone I could possibly help,” Heggeness said.
Heggeness has carried out her mission by deploying to Texas and North Carolina during the hurricanes this past summer and now as part of the recovery efforts in California.
“I know I have an idea of what they’re feeling, what’s going through their head and how they’re feeling and since I’ve experienced it and I can empathize,” Heggeness said.
The Red Cross of the Dakotas Region is also deploying Carrie Odegaard from Shelly, Minnesota and Dan Wall of Madison, South Dakota to Chico. All three volunteers will assist in a shelter in addition to providing relief for other volunteers.
“Although the fire is done, the recovery time is not. We have so many people whose lives are affected and don’t have a place to go back home and so our sheltering has gone on for that time period. As our volunteers have been doing well in providing recovery, it’s also time to provide them some respite as well, said Lynn Speral, Red Cross of the Dakotas CEO.
Speral says it’s great watching people like Heggeness grow in their volunteer work.
“Last time when she came back from a round in Florida, she said ok next time, I’m going as a supervisor,” Speral said.
But for Heggeness, the best part of it all is being able to provide a sense of normalcy to those who need it the most.
“He has coupons for food and said ‘I can’t use that for cat food. And I said ‘here, gave him money for cat food. That stuck in my mind and I’ll never forget that,” Heggeness said.
Speral says if people want to help out the Red Cross, the organization is always looking for volunteers to help out in the Fargo-Moorhead area as well.