Locals offered a hand to those in need

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002


W.Va. -- Ask any Tri-State resident, and you will undoubtedly hear: people in this area have the biggest hearts, and the most willing hands when there is work to be done.

The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks illustrated this belief. When Tri-State residents realized their fellow Americans were in need, they came forward.

Email newsletter signup

Thirteen volunteers from throughout the Tri-State, part of the Western West Virginia Chapter of the American Red Cross, assisted in the recovery efforts in New York City, Washington, D.C., in Pennsylvania and in Connecticut, where

large number of families of attack victims lived.

Red Cross Interim Director Betsy Ratcliff said the volunteers performed a number of duties. The volunteers from the Tri-State have all returned home now. Their experience with the recovery effort varied from person to person.

"We had one person who went to New York as a mental health worker and assisted with families. One worked at a respite center there. One worked on an integrated care team. Some were nurses, trained in disaster relief. They worked at the Pentagon. One paid Red Cross employee was head of the Red Cross computer operations for New York City," Ratcliff said.

While scores of people heard the news and offered to help, Ratcliff said many were turned away because they did not have specific training in disaster response, which is imperative at such a time.

Ratcliff said the volunteers were mobilized after the national Red Cross headquarters sent word to the State League Chapter for Red Cross Disaster Services, asking what kind of workers that entity could provide.

State officials checked their data, and faxed back a reply. The national headquarters then sent back an order asking for help in certain areas.

Ratcliff said she was pleased and grateful that so many people were so willing to donate blood, donate money and give of their time.

"The outpouring was tremendous. I only wish we could see this kind of community support when we have floods, and other small things. I wish we could see those big numbers of blood donors every day, because we have this need every day," Ratcliff said. Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune