Local Heroes Return Home

By: Daniel Chanin Email
By: Daniel Chanin Email

They traveled 25 hundred miles for 17 days of hard work, but two members of Reno's Red Cross chapter are finally home tonight.

Two-and-a-half weeks ago, Jere Phipps and Walt Drucker left for San Diego with no idea where they would ultimately be stationed or who they'd end up helping, but that's nothing new to a couple of guys who are dedicating their lives to helping others.

The two men were all smiles on Sunday after returning from a grueling journey through hundreds of thousands of acres devastated by fire. But the relief effort has definitely taken its toll.

"I'm going to be lying down on a nice feather pillow in about an hour," says Phipps. "I'm ready to go home and go to bed."

Phipps and Drucker spent most of their time in an Emergency Response Vehicle, carrying food to firefighters while trying to lift the spirits of others affected by the blaze.

"I'm surprised that some of those people have held up as well as they seemed to," says Drucker. "Just the utter devastation...it's terrible."

Drucker says he's looking forward to spending more time with his wife and three grandchildren and might even go back to school to take classes in history or a foreign language. But he says he's willing to sign up for another relief effort if mother nature comes calling.

"It's kinda like a traveling frat that goes from disaster to disaster," says Drucker. "You keep running into people. It's just a great experience."

Drucker's wife, Linda is happy to have her husband home. She says the volunteer work makes him a hero and fills an important void in his life.

"It's keeping him alive," says Drucker. "It's been wonderful for him."


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