Ten men and women from the Lubbock area are volunteering to go to the cities and towns hurricane Ivan will likely tear apart. On Tuesday, they got their initial orientation by asking questions and watching disaster relief videos. None of them are asking for special recognition, as they prepare to spend the next few weeks or months of their lives helping others. Volunteer Neil Brownd says, "I really feel for the people who are victims. I feel sad, so I'd like to do something. Volunteer Tommie Spykes says, "I've got a ten year old little girl and I know if it were switched around, I would certainly hope people would be here helping her and helping us in that situation."
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Spykes and Brownd are two of ten people from Lubbock and surrounding areas, who plan to put their lives on hold, so the lives of others may go on. They'll join the thousands who will flock to help in the wake of Hurricane Ivan. Spykes is going at the request of his little girl. He says, "Her birthday is actually the 29th of this month and she told me the best birthday present I could give her was to help someone else."
The minimum obligation is three weeks for Red Cross volunteers. That may sound like a lot, but for some it's not enough. One volunteer at Tuesday's training asked, "Can I stay longer?" Instructor, Tim Hill told her she can stay and help as long as she wants. When asked how long he'd stay, Spykes says, "I'll stay as long as they need me. No questions asked."
This is Neil Brownd's second time volunteering for disaster relief. You could say it's his way of practicing the golden rule, but it's also a way to meet some amazing and selfless people. Brownd says, "I've already benefited from meeting these folks here you see. I guess goodwill and friendship, money can't buy that. Spykes adds "I don't want to be rewarded. I just want to do this for my Lord. My Lord tells me to do it."
Brownd, Spykes and the rest of the volunteers first must be accepted by the Red Cross regional headquarters in Houston. If accepted, they will be notified by the Red Cross when it's time to deploy after Hurricane Ivan touches down. The volunteers will receive additional training once they arrive in disaster areas. All their expenses are covered by the Red Cross.
If you can't volunteer, but would like to help with disaster relief, monetary donations are encouraged. You can mail them to:
The American Red Cross, South Plains Regional Chapter
2201 19th Street
Lubbock, TX 79401
Or they'll take your donation by phone. Call (806) 765-8534.