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Two local women are on their way to Alabama to offer their services as Red Cross Mass Care Shelter volunteers

American Red CrossClarksville, TN – Rithy Essing and Lonzetta Cleveland are local volunteers with the American Red Cross Clarksville-Montgomery County Chapter and on a national Red Cross registry for disaster volunteers. This is their first week in a two-week volunteer stint providing mass care services in tornado-ravaged Alabama.

“We’re on a national register as mass care shelter specialists and when there is a major event somewhere in the United States, they contact people that are on the register and see if they’re available,” they said Monday.

Rithy Essing and Lonzetta Cleveland departing for Alabama. (Photo by Glenda Brown)
Rithy Essing and Lonzetta Cleveland departing for Alabama. (Photo by Glenda Brown)

More than 259 tornadoes and 340 deaths have been reported in six states. Hundreds of Red Cross disaster relief volunteers and workers have been sent to disaster areas in Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Virginia to provide food, comfort, shelter and more.

Both of these volunteers have been working in our local area with the wind storms and floods for the past few weeks. Now the volunteers who were active in Alabama need relief so here we go.

This is their first national deployment through the Red Cross Clarksville-Montgomery County Chapter. “To say the least we’re excited,” Cleveland said. “It’s kind of challenging to go somewhere where you don’t know what’s going to happen. You arrive there and you get an assignment and you go and do it, and I find it very stimulating.”

Essing who is married to an active duty serviceman urges people who are available to get involved if they “really want to do useful work at a good place to volunteer”.

“There are many, very talented, interesting, people working for the Red Cross and they have many challenging job specialties available,” she said.

To get involved, contact the local Red Cross chapter at 931-645-6401 or come into the chapter Monday thru Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm.

“Every disaster starts locally,” says Linda Sparrow, Volunteer Staffing Manager for the Clarksville-Montgomery Co. Chapter. “It’s really important that we have people in the community who are prepared for disasters. So get involved.” “The Red Cross is really hopeful that people in a local community will get involved with the Red Cross before another disaster strikes. All Disaster training is free and every month we offer the basic classes: So get involved now.”

Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10.00 donation to disaster relief. Contributions may also be sent to your local chapter of the American Red Cross 1760 Madison Clarksville, TN 37043.


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