Locals help in Sandy’s wake

Jeffrey Smith
Red Cross volunteer Dick Sullivan headed to a staging area in White Plains Wednesday morning and will be helping out in the New York City area.

Nearly 30 area American Red Cross volunteers departed Wednesday morning to help deal with the havoc caused by Superstorm Sandy. Their first stop was a Red Cross staging area in White Plains, where the volunteers will receive assignments to go to disaster zones affected most by the deadly storm, said Colleen Kean, a local Red Cross spokeswoman.??

The volunteers will assist in areas in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey hit hard by flooding, high winds and heavy rains.??

“We want to go down there’s because we’re needed,” said Dick Walters of Bath, a longtime Red Cross volunteer. “And we want to help.”??

“Big time,” added Elmira volunteer John Sullivan.??

Sullivan said he has no idea what to expect or where he or the other volunteers will end up.??

“I imagine wherever I end up, it will be devastating,” Walters said.??

Pam Ameigh, a volunteer from Elmira, said she and many other volunteers just want to help others dealing with the tragedy.??“

I just want to help,” Ameigh said. “We all do.”

??The Red Cross relief response is geared to provide people across a number of East Coast states with a safe place to stay, food to eat and comfort.??

“Wow, I feel so bad for these people,” said Arlene Haffner, a volunteer from Bath. “But I think when we go out as a Red Cross group, we end up getting more from the people we serve than we give back to them. It’s such a heartfelt feeling to help people hit by a disaster.”??

Kean said thousands of people have spent the night in hundreds of Red Cross shelters since the storm began its onslaught and the number will likely continue to grow.??

The Red Cross has already served more than 100,000 meals and snacks, mobilized 2,300 disaster workers and 200 emergency vehicles ? and more resources are being deployed.??

Winnie Romeril, a Red Cross public affairs officer who went to the White Plains staging area just before the storm hit, said the response to Sandy is just getting started.

??“One thing that has really brought people’s spirits up here was finding out that people from all over the country are pulling for them,” said Romeril, who will return home from White Plains today. “I might be back though.”??

The Bath Volunteer Fire Department’s Swift Water Rescue Team recently returned home after helping storm victims on Long Island.

??The team traveled to Nassau County early Tuesday morning to assist the Baldwin Fire Department.??

Members included Chief Mark Conrad, Assistant Chiefs Joe Washburn and John Conrad, Captain Sean Walruth and firefighters Alfred Brewer II, Michael Brotzman, Casey Saltsman, and Michael Monroy.??

The rescue team helped deal with high water levels.??

Conrad said one mission was to a nearby town where 38 people swam to a flooded fire station, entered the building though secondfloor windows, and needed to be rescued.??

The team arrived home late Tuesday night.?