Oklahomans headed to Florida to help hurricane victims

Friday, September 10th 2004, 10:05 am
By: News On 6

Florida might be a long way from Oklahoma, but we have got dozens of good-hearted volunteers from Oklahoma headed there to help.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg talks to some of them as they prepare to brave the storm. Members of the Choctaw Nation's Emergency Management Team lined up for duty at the Tulsa International Airport.

Technically, they're volunteers, but in their minds, there's no other choice. Tim Brashears with Choctaw Nation Emergency Management: "This is what the United States government trained us to do, so we're ready to go help." This is the first big test for their agency, which is barely a year old. The caps and t-shirts are brand new.

Salvation Army Major Marshall Gesner on the other hand has been responding to emergencies like these for many years. He just got back from Florida, and even he has trouble imagining what a third hurricane could do. "The last time I saw a double was when I was a kid growing up in Miami in the 1950's, and now we're looking at three." Volunteers aren't even certain yet where they'll go when Ivan hits.

"We will find that out when we go through orientation in Atlanta.” Sky Stemmons, another volunteer with the Mayor's Citizens Corps, is a ranch hand who works with troubled horses. His job in Florida will be community relations to help with residents and their frazzled nerves. "When we have problems in Oklahoma, people help out and I want to do the same thing.”

And they're not the only frazzled ones. The volunteers have worried families here at home. "Y'know it's not an easy thing to go off into an area like Florida is now with another hurricane coming."