American Red Cross Volunteers

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It's a humbling example of Mother Nature’s wrath and unyielding power On Sunday, Hurricane Dennis blasted the Florida panhandle and the Alabama coast.

"We're the first ones there, and the last ones to leave, it's critical that we're there," says Kathryn Dyrdahl of the American Red Cross.

One-thousand American Red Cross volunteers, including one volunteer from the Rock River chapter, have already been mobilized in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

"She will be doing mass care--providing food and water to victims," says Dyrdahl.

Each volunteer remains in the field for 3 weeks.

"We have 180 shelters open, we've housed more than 13,000 and fed about 45,000 with meals and snacks," says Dyrdahl.

But the volunteers provide much more than food and water, they provide psychological support and counseling for disaster victims during a time of anguish. "We've had amazing stories, very emotional, that's why they volunteer, they're really helping people," says Dyrdahl.

So as the gulf coast region begins the massive clean-up, Red Cross volunteers will be there until the work is done and the victims' have put their lives back together.

Dyrdahl says 7 volunteers from the Rock River chapter are on stand-by to leave.

If you would like to make a financial donation to the Red Cross, call 1-800-HELP-NOW or visit