Local volunteers storming in after Isaac devastates La.

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Friday, Aug. 31, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. -- The Red Cross has deployed more than 3,000 disaster workers, and three of those are from Aiken. In fact, one just left at 5 a.m. Friday.

"My time's not wasted, not a single minute of it," said volunteer Jerry George.

They leave their family, their friends, their dry, air-conditioned homes, all to come spend three long, wet weeks in the floods left by Hurricane Isaac.

"I've been told to expect to sleep on a cot and next to 50, 60, 100 other people and work at night," George said.

George wouldn't have it any other way.

"It's a very satisfying feeling. People talk about getting the warm fuzzies, well it's hard to get the fuzzies when it's pouring down rain, but it is a good feeling," he said with a humble smile.

George is one of many Red Cross volunteers in Louisiana helping thousands devastated by Hurricane Isaac.

"A lot of people were unable to evacuate in time, and even if they did evacuate, their home was completely destroyed," said Disaster Service Specialist Joey Hutto.

"When you find out that the water level was up 5 feet in the living room, and everything is soaked, and the foundation is soaked, and it's made out of cinder blocks that dissolve in water, then you get a picture of how devastating it really is," George said.

Along with providing the basics of food, water and shelter, the Red Cross is also providing peace of mind through the "Safe and Well" website.

"That is for individuals that are in our shelter right now -- and of course there's power outages -- and they're wanting their families to know, even here in South Carolina, that they're OK," Hutto said.

For the volunteers, helping a family in need is priceless.

"I don't get paid with money. I get paid by you. You have a small child that needs a blanket? That's when I get paid," said stand-by volunteer Debra Day.

The worst part of the storm may be over, but the clean-up has just started. Hundreds of thousands of people are still without power.

Many people have been surprised by what a Category 1 hurricane can do. Some areas are still inaccessible and have gotten no relief.

As of now, the Red Cross is providing shelter and help to six states along the Gulf Coast.


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