Local Red Cross Volunteer Heads East

RENO, Nev. - You may not expect someone heading into a disaster zone to be excited. But one local Red Cross volunteer heading on her first assignment can hardly contain her emotions.

"I'm so excited I don't know what to do with myself," Dawnda Smith said. Smith joined the Red Cross six months ago and with a final signature on paperwork, she is ready to go.

"I don't even have a suitcase," she said.

But that doesn't matter to her. What's truly important is helping people.

"I always wring my hands with these disasters and I wanna help so bad, and I finally have my opportunity."

Smith is heading to New Jersey to assist with medical care in one of the Red Cross's shelters.

"We always have an EMT or Registered Nurse on hand at the shelters," Karli Epstein, Development Director for the Northern Nevada Red Cross said.

Epstein called Smith to volunteer becuase her spirit is jsut what is needed.

"Dawnda is a super bright light," Epstein said.

A bright light is just what is needed after the storm, with power outages leaving thousands of people in the dark.

"They have absolutely no idea what's going on outside," Epstein said. "They want to know when they can go back in their homes, and we actually can't give them that information right now."

But what they can give is help. That's why Smith is eager to leave. Though she remains realistic saying she expects to find chaos, nothing can dampen her mood.

BUT WHAT THEY CAN GIVE IS HELP...AND THAT'S THE REASON DAWNDA IS GIVING HER TIME.

"I'm excited to be deployed," she said.

If you'd like to help, Red Cross volunteers say monetary donations are best. There are several ways to donate:

1. PHONE: 1-800-RED-CROSS
2. ONLINE: www.redcross.org
3. TEXT the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.


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