Local Red Cross volunteers training for national disasters

Tuesday, the American Red Cross held a training session at its Belmont Avenue office

American Red Cross training

LIBERTY, Ohio (WYTV) – People in the Valley have big hearts. It’s why so many are helping with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

Tuesday, the American Red Cross held a training session at its Belmont Avenue office for anyone interested in assisting. Training takes about 10 hours — some is done at the Red Cross and the rest is completed online.

Once they’re trained, volunteers ship out across the country, helping at the front lines of disaster-stricken regions. Many will go to North Carolina, where parts of the state are still dealing with flooding.

Don Rex said there’s a lot to learn as a Red Cross volunteer, and he is taking it all in. He likes volunteering and says he wants to help people dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina.

“I have motorcycled through there, and Lumberton was one of the towns we actually went through,” he said.

Kristen Gallagher, disaster program specialist at the Red Cross, said there are still about 1,200 people in Red Cross shelters in North Carolina. Those volunteering will assist with their sheltering and feeding.

Mark Behlke has deployed to three disaster areas, including the Blue Cut Fire in California just a few months ago.

“I have never seen a burned out community for hundreds of miles,” he said.

Behlke said it was scary seeing so much devastation, but his training helped.

“I have no replacement for it. It’s just fantastic,” he said.

The Red Cross says if there is interest, it will hold another volunteer training.

“If they are not going out on this assignment, there’s going to be other disasters that they will be able to go on, unfortunately,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher said she hopes when people go through the training, they’ll be able to use it  in their own community if there is a disaster, such as a fire.

You can find more information on becoming a volunteer on the American Red Cross’s website.