Local Red Cross volunteers head to Florida before hurricane

Connecticut

MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH)– They are getting in place before the storm so they are ready to help the victims. Thousands of American Red Cross volunteers are already on their way to Florida.

It is still a couple days away from the Florida coast, but Hurricane Dorian is already making waves for the Red Cross.

“They’re saying that it could be a category 3 or 4 which is a very severe type of hurricane,” said Mystic resident Wayne Dailey. “Nothing to mess with.”

And yet, today Dailey and seven other Connecticut volunteers are heading right towards the storm. He will be in Talahassee tonight. He has been in Florida for hurricanes before.

“Last time I was in Florida, I stayed in a tent with 250 people in it.”

That was Hurricane Irma in 2017. In 2015, News8 spoke to him on the phone as he was helping people dealing with floods in South Carolina.

Dorian will be Dr. Dailey’s 32nd deployment with the Red Cross. He is a psychiatrist, who specializes in helping people mentally deal with disasters.

“Before the storm, they’re concerned about getting out of harm’s way, not being trapped,” Dailey said.

So for folks in Dorian’s path, the stress has already begun, and it will just get worse after the storm as they try to pick up the pieces.

“Returning home, as quickly as they can,” said Dailey. “Finding out if they still have a home, and what they need to do, the steps to rebuilding their lives.”

He will be one of thousands of Red Cross volunteers helping hurricane victims, each under stress of his or her own. That presents its own challenges when it comes to mental health.

“First, we help clients, the people who are in the shelters, people who have been evacuated and so on, and then next we are supporting our own workers,” Dailey said.

So why do all these volunteers do this? For Dr. Dailey, helping those in need is in his words, “uplifting.”

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