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August 31, 2009

My Turn: Hurricane relief is about people

(Continued)

Or we say, "I hope Maggie is all right." A retired public health nurse, she was writing a history of Texas disaster response. She'd experienced hurricanes for years and had seen it change from heading to the nearest church hall where neighbors brought food, to the massive evacuation and sheltering operation she had just been a part of.

I told her about the FEMA website that offers on-line courses in disaster management and she was eager to get home and get online. Then there was Alice, who came by bus in a wheelchair with her three young grandchildren. She had heart problems, used oxygen and didn't know where her daughter, the children's mother, was.

These then are the most important things we did in Texas: cared for people, shared their stories and showed real concern for their welfare. Yes, it's all about the people: those of us from upstate New York and all over this country, some 20,000 who went to Texas to help out and, of course, those we helped.

That's what it was like in Texas.

Hoadley lives in Gilbertsville. He is enrolled in the Disaster Services Human Resources pool for response to national disasters and helped in New York City at 9/11 and in several hurricane relief efforts in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. He was named 2006 Otsego County Outstanding Red Cross Volunteer.

American Red Cross training that will qualify one to serve as a Disaster Action Team member or DSHR enrollee are free to volunteers. For more information, call an Otsego County office of the American Red Cross at 432-5353 or 547-2441, or visit www.redcross.org.

To write for "My turn," contact Daily Star Publisher Tanya Shalor at tshalor@thedailystar.com or 432-1000, ext. 214.

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