Local volunteers continue work in South

There are 23 volunteers from NE WI Region

Volunteers from Northeast Wisconsin are still hard at work assisting tornado victims in the south.

Click on the photo to see the video of this story

That severe weather killed hundreds of people and split up families.

But thanks to local Wisconsin Red Cross workers, they are helping to bring people together to get on with their lives.

Slowly yet surely, residents of Tuscaloosa, Alabama are picking up the shattered pieces.

More than a week after a devastating tornado as many as 25 people were still unaccounted for.

“Going through Tuscaloosa, the hardest hit area, it looks like a bomb went off in parts of the city and there’s nothing left,” said Nick Cluppert, NE Wisconsin Region Red Cross Emergency Management Services Manager assisting in the South.

Cluppert, from Oshkosh, says there have also been signs of hope. He says the American Red Cross has helped to re-connect more than a thousand people with relatives and friends.

The effort is through the Red Cross, safe and well program.

“We actually had to do a home visit to try to locate somebody and we were able to find them,” Cluppert explained. “The family member that had called looking for this individual wasn’t sure if they were in effected area or not, but they couldn’t get a hold of them, so we were able to locate them and report back they were okay.”

Cluppert is among 23 Red Cross volunteers from Northeast Wisconsin currently assisting in the relief efforts down south.

But as the flooding worsens in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys, officials say they’ve had to switch gears for volunteers still looking to help.

“On Friday as well as Saturday, we sent 3 individuals down, all 3 went to Tennessee and a husband and wife couple, they actually drove down our Emergency Response vehicle,” explained Red Cross Lakeland Chapter Communications Director, Jody Weyers.

And the severe spring weather has taken a toll on resources.

Last year, the American Red Cross responded to nearly 30 large disasters between March and June.

However, in the past 39 days, the Red Cross has launched 20 separate relief operations nationwide and those include help from local volunteers.

“You kind of get one under control and then something else happens,” Weyers said. “You send individuals out, but disasters don’t stop in your own community.”

And as the need grows, Weyers expects the volunteers to be gone two to three weeks at a time.

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