Local Red Cross volunteers prepare for Hurricane Irma


As Hurricane Irma makes landfall and potentially heads up the Southeast coast, our local Red Cross is training volunteers everyday this week to send help to areas in need.

Right now, Northeast Tennessee only has three volunteers in Texas helping with Harvey devastation.

That's because the director is keeping the rest of the volunteers on standby for Hurricane Irma.

"It's our responsibility to be the first people to respond to Florida, Georgia, and then Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana." Explained Executive Director Glenda Bobalik.

The training teaches volunteers how to help shelter those in need.

It also covers how to feed people on the go.

These are two basic skills you need if you're headed to areas in distress.

One training key you can't learn from books: the mindset you need to have as a red cross volunteer.

"You have to be able to withstand or cope... it is a disaster, so it's not like going to the Gulf for vacation." Warned Bobalik.

Clark Parker has worked with Red Cross for more than 10 years on an administrative level.

Now, he's getting the hands-on training he needs to be deployed.

He's aware his comfort as a volunteer doesn't come first.

"You're going to be there working. You're going to be working long hours. You may be sleeping on a cot. You may be sleeping in a bed. But you just have to go in with the attitude of 'I'm doing something important to help these folks that may have lost everything'". Said volunteer Clark parker.

"It's very, very rewarding to be able to help people, when they need that help. And we're repaid greatly, and just having the ability and opportunity to help." Added Bobalik.

The Red Cross in Kingsport is holding more trainings on Thursday and Friday starting at 9 a.m.

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