Local American Red Cross volunteers have been busy responding to disasters both here at home and across the country.
On Monday night, an apartment building fire in Winona left 13 people homeless. 6 Red Cross volunteers responded, providing emergency assistance and emotional support to those affected. Every 9 minutes, the Red Cross assists someone in the US with a house fire or other disaster.
Gayle Gorman of Winona was one of the volunteers who responded Monday night. Less than 9 hours later, she was on a plane to Colorado to help out at the wildfires which have been ravaging the area. She will be serving as a client casework manager, meeting with individuals and families to assess their needs and assist in their recovery. She will also be supervising other volunteers performing the same service. Gorman is a veteran of many deployments, from Hurricane Sandy to local flooding and tornadoes.
While Gorman is on her way to Colorado, Winonan Mike Papke heads to Oklahoma as a client casework supervisor. A month after tornadoes devastated several communities in and around Oklahoma City, caseworkers are still needed to assist people affected by the deadly storms. Papke is expected to be in Oklahoma for two weeks.
Papke will cross paths with Joellen Barak of St. Charles, who has spent the past ten days working in public affairs in Oklahoma. Her job includes interacting with local and national media to make the public aware of Red Cross activities in Oklahoma. She will be wrapping up her time in Oklahoma on Wednesday.