The American Red Cross has been supporting the victims of Hurricane Ian since the category 4 storm made landfall, leaving destruction behind in Florida and surrounding states just a few weeks ago.
A Blair county American Red Cross volunteer, Cathy Keefe, has traveled to Florida and has been helping the victims of Hurricane Ian since the first week of October.
“I was there, She said you don’t know how much you helped me. I’m really grateful for that.”
Cathy Keefe of Altoona has been volunteering with the American Red Cross for the past four years now.
“I retired four years ago,” said Keefe. “I actually retired on a Friday and signed up with the red cross on the Monday. I’ve gone to Louisiana, I’ve been to Kentucky twice, I was in New York City, I even went to Harrisburg to a multi family fire but luckily I had some free time and so whenever they were looking for volunteers, I was able to do that”.
Keefe is currently deployed in Florida offering support to the victims of Hurricane Ian.
“I couldn’t get there before the storm hit, but I was here, maybe about a week after and for me this is the earliest I’ve ever been on a disaster, I’ve not been near damage. All of the people I’ve interacted with have been flooded.”
The American Red Cross offers a variety of ways volunteers can help those impacted by disaster.
Keefe currently provides spiritual and emotional support to the hurricane victims.
“Everyone is, here in the shelter have been so appreciative. You know, they’re so, they’re so positive and then they make you positive because despite everything that’s going on, they, they’re able to be grateful.”
Keefe says many victims have completely lost everything such as their homes and have been living in shelters.
“The shelters are so far away, we’re kept away for safety as well that I don’t really get to see the devastation, but the people can certainly tell you the stories or they will certainly show you pictures.”
Keefe has been in Florida since October 5th and is finally coming back to Blair county on Sunday before heading back down south to, “either do more spiritual care or do more shelter resident transitions because the needs going to be here for quite a while,So, yeah I’m excited, I’m excited to go home for a bit, but I’m excited to come back.”