Red Cross seeking volunteers

PARKERSBURG – Locals who volunteer for the Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross may be sent to aid those affected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma.

“At this point no one has been deployed,” said Sharon Kesselring, financial development director for the chapter. “Our best guestimate as to if and when locals will be sent there is as long as two weeks from now.”

Kesselring said it takes the national organization between 24 and 48 hours to request volunteers from chapters.

“They typically pull volunteers from closer chapters and our volunteers are brought in a week or two later to relieve those who respond first,” she added.

Red Cross officials are likely currently deciding how many volunteers are needed and where to set up shelters to aid those displaced by the storms.

“They are still assessing what needs to be done,” Kesselring said. “It will take time and from there locally we will know what to do.”

It is not unusual for local volunteers to spend days, weeks or months deployed to disaster areas throughout the country.

Last year, local volunteers not only responded locally during the last June derecho when the national headquarters for the Red Cross was set up at Parkersburg South High School, but also to coastal areas of New York and New Jersey following the Hurricane Sandy disaster.

Earlier this year more volunteers were sent to New England states following storm Nemo, which left two feet of snow.

“We deploy volunteers whenever they are available and we are asked,” Kesselring said.

The chapter will accept donations to aid those affected by the Oklahoma disaster at the 220 Eighth St. office.