Red Cross couple drives ERV to Louisiana flooding to help

When the Louisiana flooding started, Allan and Cindy Slavin watched as the horrific events unfold on TV and they knew they had to do more than sit in the comfort of their home.

On Friday, the couple from the American Red Cross’ Northwest Missouri Chapter in St. Joseph left in a Red Cross emergency response vehicle to head to the flooded area to do what they can to bring relief.

American Red Cross of Greater Kansas City
Allan Slavin and his wife Cindy from the American Red Cross Northwest Missouri Chapter in St. Joseph talk to reporters in Kansas City on Friday as they prepare to leave with an Emergency Response Vehicle to help out in the Louisiana flooding response. (Photo by Duane Hallock/American Red Cross)

Allan took time off from Whiteman Air Force Base at Knob Noster where he’s a lieutenant colonel commanding the 442nd Logistics Readiness Squadron. Cindy took two weeks vacation from Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph where she’s a health care professional.

This is Cindy’s first Red Cross deployment to a disaster. Allan previously volunteered during Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. For them, it’s truly a labor of love.

“If you’ve never been involved with the Red Cross before, get involved. It’s the most rewarding thing you’ll probably ever do in your life,” Allan told reporters watching the couple leave Friday from the Greater Kansas City Chapter.

“We see the people in need on TV and witness the devastation they’re going through, we just think this is really a good way to go and help them,” added Cindy. “I’m excited for the opportunity to help people.”

The couple’s deployment brings to 31 the number of volunteers by week’s end from the Western Missouri Region helping in Louisiana. It’s the third ERV from the Region deployed to the disaster.

The flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster to hit the United States since Sandy. Early estimates predict the massive Red Cross relief effort in Louisiana could cost at least $30 million – and this number may grow.

More than 1,400 Red Crossers – including some virtual workers helping online – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are supporting Louisiana relief efforts.  The Red Cross is working with the entire disaster response community — national, state and local agencies and organizations — to make sure people get the help they need.

On Friday night, as many as 3,100 people were still seeking refuge in 20 Red Cross and community shelters in Louisiana. At the peak of the floods, more than 50 shelters provided safety for more than 10,000 people.

American Red Cross of Greater Kansas City
Cindy Slavin from the Northwest Missouri Chapter in St. Joseph checks out the Emergency Response Vehicle she and her husband Allan are driving to Louisiana to help with the American Red Cross flood relief efforts. Allan is seen talking to reporter about their trip. (Photo by Duane Hallock/American Red Cross)

The Red Cross has provided more than 36,000 overnight shelter stays since the flooding began as well as serving more than 171,000 meals and snacks with the help of several organizations. Volunteers are visiting shelters to offer emotional support and help replace things like lost eyeglasses and medications.

Dozens of disaster response vehicles are deployed to Louisiana as well as numerous trailer-loads of relief supplies. Some of the thousands of supplies arriving include water, personal hygiene items, insect repellant, cleaning kits, bleach and other supplies.

The Red Cross urgently needs the public to support relief efforts in Louisiana by making a financial donation today. People can donate by visiting redcross.org; calling 1-800-RED CROSS; or texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

It has been a very busy year for disasters across the country. Thousands of volunteers have deployed – some numerous times – to support people in need. The time and talent of every volunteer makes a real difference in people’s lives.

To join us, visit redcross.org today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.

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