Answering The Call For Help

Wednesday, October 24th 2007, 9:47 pm
By: News On 6

Victims of the California wildfires are getting some support from Green Country. Some volunteers are lending a hand without ever leaving Oklahoma. The News On 6’s Ashli Sims reports when a wildfire victim dials the American Red Cross for help, it could be a volunteer in Tulsa who picks up the phone.

Hundreds of miles from the fire line in California, Tulsa volunteers are on the frontlines for the American Red Cross. And, after a few phone calls even veteran volunteers of Oklahoma floods and historic hurricanes have new appreciation for scope of the tragedy.

"I just don't see how they're coping with such a massive disaster. Ya know, I thought we had it bad in the floods, but nothing like this,” said Red Cross volunteer Bob Summer.

At the response center, Summer and others field phone calls from the disaster area, directing the displaced residents to local shelters. And, they help families, who can't get through to loved ones, reconnect.

"I think my most rewarding call was from a man who was calling about his mother-in-law. And they talked to her on Monday, right before she was evacuated, but they haven't heard from her since. And, she's physically handicapped and in a wheelchair. So, he was very concerned about her,” said Red Cross volunteer Ora Asheton.

With a few key strokes and some soothing words, volunteers are able to bring some a little peace of mind.

"At first he was really upset and really nervous. And, I was able to just talk him through it and explain that we'd be sending his case to the national Red Cross. And, they'd be checking up on her and giving him call back,” added Red Cross volunteer Ora Asheton.

Red Cross officials say on a high volume day, the call center will receive 200 to 300 calls. There are about 40 centers like the one in Tulsa operating around the country.

Watch the video: Answering The Call For Help From Wildfire Victims