Thursday, June 23, 2011

Louisville Volunteer Deploys to Iowa

As severe storms continue to plague Kentuckiana, communities across the nation are dealing with wildfires, tornadoes and flooding. One such area is Council Bluffs, Iowa. There, flooding has been so prolonged that the local newspaper created a special website for flood stories and tips. On Friday, local disaster volunteer Mike Sewell will join Council Bluffs residents in their flood relief efforts.

Mike became a Red Cross volunteer in 2009, just before the August 4th flood. Since then, he's worked on four other disaster operations including last month's flooding in Paducah, KY. When there's not a disaster going on, Mike stays busy by taking courses in disaster training, working as a logistics associate and serving as a member of the Disaster Action Team (DAT), a job that allows him to perform his favorite Red Cross activity--Client Casework.

Mike working on a disaster relief operation in Paducah, KY in May of 2011.

Just 15 hours away from completing his BA in Social Work, Mike has always wanted to work in a field that offers lots of social interaction and the opportunity to help others. With Client Casework, he gets do both. He is the first responder when a family is affected by a home fire or other disaster. He helps them with their immediate emergency needs including food, shelter, and--a crucial part of recovery--emotional support.

While in Iowa, Mike will work in any number of areas including damage assessment, client casework, bulk distribution or warehousing. Since this is his first time responding outside of Kentucky, he is a little nervous about his trip, but anxious to put his training to good use.

"I'm looking forward to serving clients and meeting new people," Mike said. "I always make friends when I go out. That's one of the reasons I like going."

For updates on the Council Bluffs flooding along with other Red Cross relief efforts, visit the Disaster Online Newsroom.