Tonawanda News

Features

November 29, 2012

WERTH: A first-hand account of Hurricane Sandy relief

Tonawanda News — Editor’s note: Teresa Werth is a City of Tonawanda native who now lives in the Rochester area. She has been volunteering with the Red Cross since 2008 and spent several days volunteering in the New York City area during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Here is an account of her experiences. 

On Oct. 29, I was just beginning my regular overnight rotation with the Red Cross Disaster Public Affairs team when I offered to come to the main Red Ross office in Rochester to help out with anything I could. I saw on the news that they were busy with activities ramping up for Hurricane Sandy. 

I did some phone answering and wrote a news release then went to Brockport and helped set up a shelter for people in the far western suburbs who might lose heat and light during the storm. No one sought shelter with the six staff that were there but I felt good knowing we were there if they needed us.

On the afternoon of Nov. 1, I got the call asking if I could leave at 9 a.m. the next morning to drive a rental car to New York City, picking up another volunteer outside of Ithaca on the way.

In the morning, my husband, Don, delivered me to the Red Cross where I got my paperwork. We loaded the car, set up the GPS and off I went to the Board of Elections to vote, then on to Trumansburg. 

I picked up my new best friend and roommate, Kristine Uribe, at her home near Ithaca. She is a pretty, petite, spunky 41-year-old Latino who is out-going, social and confident ... all good traits for the work ahead of us. “In real life” she is manager of Watkins Glen State Park. 

Kristine and I were transferred from our normal roles of sheltering and public affairs into bulk distribution because they needed teams of people who could navigate a 16-foot box truck to bring blankets, heater meals, clean up kits, water, gloves, batteries, flashlights, etc., to the affected areas. 

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