Mark Schnyder, NBC 5 News
Training day for American Red Cross volunteers after recent disasters in West, North Texas and Oklahoma
It’s been an extremely busy spring for the American Red Cross in North Texas. The pool of volunteers has been stretched thin after the explosion in West and tornadoes in Granbury, Cleburne and Moore, Oklahoma.
"Certainly we felt the impact of back to back number of disasters and it kind of points out the need that we always need to be training people and bringing them on board," said DFW Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer Dan Halyburton.
With hurricane season here, there’s a growing need for more area volunteers to help in case there is another disaster that affects North Texas.
One recruit is a Duncanville High School student who said she was touched enough by the disaster in West and the recent tornadoes to want to do something more than just feel bad for people.
"Be here and give a helping hand," said 17-year old Noelle Jenkins. "Do whatever I can. I'm here at the registration table, I'll do food banks and pack and donate different things to people in need."
When the Moore tornado happened one Red Cross volunteer from North Texas just happened to be there on business. Dan Barrios quickly dropped those responsibilities and opened one of the first Red Cross shelters there.
"When something like this happens you just want to help anyway you can whatever that is, whether it's handing out water, giving a kid a stuffed animal or in the case of Moore just hugging on people who're still trying to figure out where their loved ones are,” said Barrios.
When the next disaster hits these folks will show people where to go, get them food, shelter, medicine, whatever they need to survive. There's a lot to know that can't be learned on the fly.
"The people want to come out," said Halyburton. "They want to do something. And we want those volunteers. We need those volunteers but they need to be vetted, they need to be trained."
And forecasters are predicting this hurricane season to be busier than average. So there's little doubt these trainees will get tested before they know it.