Red Cross E.R.V. Returns From Alabama

By Scott Sarvay
By Julian Teekaram
By Megan Trent

May 23, 2011 Updated May 23, 2011 at 6:20 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - The Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle, or E.R.V., returned to Fort Wayne Monday, but it may be back on the road again in no time.

Volunteers spent three weeks in Alabama, giving aid to those who were affected by the state’s deadly tornadoes that killed at least 128 people.

Joplin, Missouri, will most likely be the next destination for the E.R.V., as the state was hit by a massive tornado Sunday that claimed at least 89 lives.

E.R.V. driver Clayton Martin talked to Indiana’s NewsCenter Monday about some of the challenges facing the people of Alabama. He says that residents have little to call their own because of severe property damages incurred by the storms.

“So many of them lost their homes, they lost their automobiles and over 2,000 businesses were destroyed. So, some of them don’t have businesses to go to – they don’t even have jobs anymore. Because insurance is so high down there due to the tornado zone they’re in, a lot of them can’t afford insurance.” says Martin. “So, they’re totally out.”

Red Cross officials say in any one given day, hundreds of people are able to receive the resources that they so desperately need during a disaster from just one E.R.V. That was the case even if reaching residents in need meant foregoing the assigned route.

“Sometimes they call us, and they might be thirty miles out of our way,” says Martin. “We go find them, and we give them everything that we can. We keep coming back to them everyday, and they look forward to that.”

Martin says the best way for people to help victims of the tornadoes in Alabama, and now Missouri, is to continue giving to the American Red Cross. The organization is always in need of monetary donations as well as volunteers. Go to http://www.redcross.org/ to lend a helping hand.

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