Virginia Red Cross volunteers return from deployment to Florida
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -The Virginia Red Cross sent dozens of volunteers to Florida and most of them stayed for 2 weeks. Those volunteers are now starting to come back home. Ed and Renee Miller were among the first wave of volunteers to leave Virginia to help those impacted by the storm. The couple shared stories about volunteering in Florida where they sometimes pulled 12-hour days to assist victims of the storm.
“The faces of the children. They didn’t have their home anymore to live in they were out looking for things looking for their toys in the debris that kind of thing. That’s kind of hard to look at,” explained Ed.
The couple was assigned to help feed families in the devastated communities. They spent hours making sure the victims, many without power or homes, had a hot meal to eat.
“There’s a microphone and if we’re driving through neighborhoods we announce our presence and it’s kind of like the ice cream man only we’re serving hot meals and water and we did 2 shifts a day the kitchen that we were based from served 18,000 meals per day,” Renee said.
The urgency for the Red Cross to send volunteers down to Florida was one Ed and Renee understood greatly. They delayed celebrating their wedding anniversary to join in the relief efforts.
“It means a great deal to to me for both of us to be on assignment and they try to keep husband and wife teams together, the Red Cross does sometimes that works out sometimes it doesn’t. This time we were on different feeding vehicles still we would be working the long days but we knew at the end of the day we’d get to see each other,” Ed said.
This deployment was not the first for the couple. They hope their time in Florida made some impact on those who have lost so much.
“I think on a global level we’re just neighbors helping neighbors and we can certainly give 2 weeks and it will take a real long time probably years before their lives will be restored back to the way it was before this hurricane hit,” Renee stated.
Virginia Red Cross has sent a total of 27 volunteers down to Florida since the operation began.
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