Local Red Cross volunteer says people were calm during Hurricane Irma

The American Red Cross serving Central Texas opened a shelter to flood victims at Parker Lane United Methodist Church Sunday, May 29, 2016. (KXAN File Photo)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The American Red Cross promises to be in both Texas and Florida as long as it’s needed to help hurricane victims from both Harvey and Irma.

Several of the volunteers helping out are from the Valley, including local volunteer Melissa Papini.

Papini arrived in Orlando, Florida last Tuesday, where she helped open 11 shelters in just 24 hours. Next, she was sent to a school just east of Tampa packed with 1,800 residents forced to evacuate their homes.

The buildings were all built to sustain a hurricane, and Papini said she is amazed at how efficient and calm everyone was as the eye of the storm passed over.

“It was such a great environment for everyone there. No one was scared. Everyone went home safely,” she said. “You couldn’t ask for a better experience in a situation that could have been a lot scarier than it was.”

Papini is now heading back to Sarasota, Florida, where she will receive a new assignment.

Other local residents who are helping out the Red Cross in Texas and Florida include:

  • George Brainard (Trumbull County)
  • Paul Dulovich (Trumbull County)
  • Jason Mitman (Mahoning County)
  • Marc Strausser (Mahoning County)

To donate to the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Harvey, Irma or other disaster relief efforts, click here.