KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Many of us woke up to the images of destruction and death across states like Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, and Tennessee, wondering what we could do to help. Nine volunteers with the East Tennessee Chapter of the American Red Cross took the opportunity to spring into action.
“We have nine that are there on the ground from just our chapter,” said Sharon Hudson, the Executive Director of the East Tennessee Chapter of the American Red Cross. “You have to realize with the Red Cross, you’ve got Kentucky, you’ve got Nashville, you’ve got the whole Tennessee Region, we have volunteers from across the state that are responding.”
One of those volunteers from Tennessee spoke with WATE 6 On Your Side just after arriving in the Cypress Point Resort on Reelfoot Lake in the Northwest part of the state. “As you can see this area is totally decimated,” said John Brown.
Brown is not only a volunteer, he also serves as the Executive Director for the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross based out of Memphis. “Pictures are worth a thousand words, but being here in person takes your breath away,” he said.
Brown described Cypress Point Resort as being where Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Kentucky all meet. He said throughout these four states, the same pain is being felt by those who call it home.
“These folks have suffered, just like Kentucky, but we know Kentucky, our hearts are to them and Arkansas,” he said. “So we’re all hanging in here together.”
“Regardless of state, county, or individual they’re always devastating,” said Hudson. “It’s tragic when you lose everything and you see people drop to their knees outside a home that they’ve built for years.”
Brown and Hudson agreed, the best thing people can do right now is provide monetary support to the American Red Cross.
“We’re not accepting donated goods,” said Hudson, adding that it takes time and money to store, sort and clean those types of donations. She also said everyone’s needs are different and they will change every day. “Everyone has unique needs for not just themselves, but the family that they care for.”
And for those who are unable to donate, Brown said if you know someone in these areas, don’t be nervous to reach out and check in. “While we want people to give, if you know someone in an impacted area, reach out and call them,” he said.
For more information on how you can donate to the American Red Cross, click here.