Kansas Red Cross Volunteers Head To East Coast

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Friday, August 26, 2011

People living on the nation's east coast are trying to get out of the way of Hurricane Irene, but a half dozen Red Cross volunteers from Kansas are on their way into the storm's path to help out.

Ralph and Phyllis Kreutziger, of Marion, Kansas, can hardly wait to leave the safety of Kansas to be in a place where Irene is expected to strike.

"It's exciting," Ralph Kreutziger said. "I wish we were on the plane already going. We're excited about it. It's what we wanted to do."

The couple will be volunteering in a shelter in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Their assignment is for two weeks doing mass care, including feeding, and simply whatever is necessary. Their excitement is tempered only by unsettled nerves. "We're nervous because we haven't done it before," Kreutziger said. "But it will all work out."

The Kreutzigers were inspired to become Red Cross volunteers after another hurricane. "Katrina," Kreutziger said. That was six years ago. They went to a Red Cross office then to find out how they could help out. Soon they were in training classes, and helping where needed. Their assignments up to now have all been in the state, including Greensburg after the tornado.

This will be their first out-of-state assignment to a state they've never been to, and helping after a hurricane which they've never experienced. "I'm really, really excited," Phyllis Kreutziger, said. "I can't wait to meet the new people, and be told what to do, how to help them."

The Kreutzigers now have time to wonder about what kind of damage Irene will bring not only to people's property, but to their state of mind. "I can't imagine losing a home or not knowing when you go back if you'll have a home," she said.

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