Local Red Cross Disaster Relief Team Flies East To Meet Hurricane

Sunday, October 28th 2012, 10:44 am
By: Tess Maune

As Hurricane Sandy quickly approaches the East Coast, some of Oklahoma's Own are answering the call for help.

A group of Eastern Oklahoma Red Cross Volunteers were asked Saturday to assist with disaster relief. They flew out early Sunday morning.

With coffee in hand, five Eastern Oklahoma Red Cross volunteers were up before sunrise, to fly out and meet Hurricane Sandy face-to-face.

"I don't usually get up this early unless I'm going fishing, but in a hurricane I do," said Red Cross volunteer John Smith. 

The group is headed to Maryland, where they'll be some the first disaster relief volunteers on the ground before the storm hits.

"We have to be ahead of the storm so we can get the shelters set up," said volunteer Terry Bavousette, American Red Cross.

Baltimore is their first destination, but it may not be their last. 

10/27/2012 Related Story: Hurricane Sandy Has Oklahoma Red Cross Volunteers Headed East

"You don't know where these things are going to go," Bavousette said.

"We're planning on somewhere in Maryland. Now that's not to say by the time we get there, they'll say, 'OK, you're going to New York.'"

Terry Bavousette has volunteered with the Red Cross since 2008 and in that time, he's seen a lot.

"This has been through tornadoes, hurricanes, Colorado wildfires, Creek County wildfires - oh yeah, this little vest has been through it all," he said.

But even with a resume packed full of experience, heading into the eye of a storm is a bit unnerving.

"This one is supposed to be a monster hurricane," said Red Cross volunteer Terry Bavousette. "I'm a little apprehensive as to what I'm going to see when I get there."

Not knowing exactly what to expect, the group is hoping for the best, but planning for the worst.

"Every one of them's different, so, I'm looking for really a lot of people being evacuated to go into shelters," said Eastern Oklahoma Red Cross volunteer John Smith.

So, as Sandy takes aim for the East Coast and the volunteers lend their helping hands, Bavousette says there's one way Oklahomans can help from home.

"Just keep all these people in your prayers," said Terry Bavousette.

And positive thoughts for the volunteers, too.

The volunteers are expected to be gone for about two weeks, but that could be extended, depending on the nature of the storm.