Local Red Cross volunteer heads to U.S. Virgin Islands
Local Red Cross volunteer Sherry Fagner will soon be visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands but not like she ideally pictured.
Fagner left Tuesday morning with a team of Red Cross volunteers to the islands as part of the recovery process after the destruction of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Fagner recently returned from Texas where she was part of the recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey. As a Red Cross volunteer Fagner spent two weeks in Texas staffing a shelter. She serves as a lead disaster action team member for both Pulaski and Starke counties.
“We took care of the basic needs of our responders,” she said. “If you can’t take care of yourself as a responder then you are no good to anyone else.”
The shelter that Fagner manned was established in the Beaumont Civic Center. Fagner said anywhere from 100-120 volunteers would spend the night. She spent 10 days at the shelter and saw more than 600 volunteers who were rotated through. Many of those staff members were first-time volunteers.
Fagner was given the opportunity to meet with the public but instead decided to continue to take care of the staff. Her service was to keep the volunteers motivated as they struggled to help others.
Before moving to Houston and Beaumont, she was in Austin with other volunteers. When she arrived in Texas it was in Austin. From there she traveled to Houston and finally Beaumont.
Fagner said those who are headed to the Virgin Islands were picked as part of a jump team. The Indiana team consists of six members and Fagner was called to be a part of it. The team is being deployed as general mass care workers. Fagner said that encompasses many things such as bulk distribution, shelter work or re-unification.
At the moment, the daily necessities such as electric and running water are limited.
Fagner said the airports in the Virgin Islands are not open and they will be transported in military planes.
At this time, the team plans to be there for three weeks. That time frame could change.