Red Cross volunteers help out in the wake of Hurricane Isaac
By by Dianna Wray - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
Aug. 30, 2012 at 3:30 a.m.
As Gulf Coast residents begin to survey the damage of Hurricane Isaac, two Victoria residents are on their way to help clean up the mess.
Red Cross volunteers Len Walker and Marguerite Griffin loaded up the Red Cross truck and headed to Orange, in east Texas, to pitch in.
Hurricane Isaac swept into the Gulf Coast seven years after Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and Mississippi. Isaac did not bring with it the devastation of that legendary storm, but still people are reeling in the wake of hurricane that will need help, Griffin said.
Red Cross volunteers are gathering in East Texas to await further instructions.
Walker and Griffin have worked in disaster relief for years. They aren't sure where they'll be sent, but the longtime volunteers are happy to go wherever they are needed, they agreed.
"It just gives you a good feeling to help people," Griffin said. During her years helping people struggling to make sense of things in the wake of Hurricane Katrina or the fires in Bastrop, Griffin said they can give people hope as they hand them food or clothing.
"It's never the same. Some people are hungry and they're glad to see us drive up," Walker said, noting the needs of people are different in the wake of each disaster. "But if they need us, we're there."
Walker and Griffin will be there for two weeks or as long as emergency response teams are needed.
They never know what to expect when going to a disaster, Walker said.
Hurricane Katrina was Walker's first time working as a Red Cross volunteer. Nothing could have prepared him for the destruction he encountered. Each disaster is unique in this respect, he said.
"Each one is different. Not one of them is ever the same," he said.
At 73, Walker enjoys the work of helping people, but he said he and Griffin, 83, hope more people will take the time to get certified so that they can be volunteers in the future.
"I'll keep doing it as long as I can, but I know I'll get to the point where I can't. We need more volunteers. I hope we'll get them," Walker said.