South Louisiana volunteers aid Oklahoma tornado victims

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - South Louisiana Red Cross volunteers are joining in efforts to help victims of the storms that ripped through Oklahoma on Monday, and one a Baton Rouge couple is among them.

For Clay and Kathy Smilie, helping victims of natural disasters is all in a day's work. After Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast last year, they made the journey to do whatever they could to help.

"We just feel called to do this. We want to help our neighbors in other states around the nation. We've gone on quite a few other disasters, and other Red Crossers come in from other states to help us here when we have hurricanes," said Kathy Smilie.

This week they'll drive 10 hours to Moore, Okla., to aid the victims of Monday's deadly tornado. Clay Smilie says they'll load their suitcases into a Red Cross unit and head on their way. He says supplies and assignments for their two week stay will be given to them when they arrive.

"I'm guessing our initial assignment will be feeding workers who are helping...the paramedics and fire fighters....helping some of the rescue workers as they continue their search and rescue," said Clay Smilie.

"It's really hard to look at these photos and know how many lives, just in a split second, were affected. When we talk about hurricanes, we know that they're coming. We can prepare," said Nancy Malone, South Louisiana Red Cross director of public affairs.

Malone says with so much damage done to that area, there is still ---and always will be---room for more help.

"This is not going to be an operation that is resolved in the next couple of days, and we know that disasters are always on the horizon," said Malone. "Hurricane season's coming here, so if you want to volunteer please contact us and come get training."

Malone says so far, they're sending ten volunteers and five emergency response vehicles to Oklahoma.

Among the South Louisianans in Oklahoma is the DMORT team from Baton Rouge. Chuck Smith returned from the plant explosion in West, Texas, just a couple weeks ago, and is already on the ground in Oklahoma.

We're told Entergy is waiting for some of the clean-up to begin, and they will be ready to send power trucks if they're needed.

There are ways anyone can help the tornado victims. One way is by donating. Text the word "REDCROSS" to 9-0-9-9-9 to donate $10 or you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

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