Sandhills Red Cross sending volunteers to Puerto Rico to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona

ByMonique John via WTVD logo
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
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The Sandhills region Red Cross chapter is sending three local volunteers will join other volunteers in Puerto Rico to help as many as possible in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona.

Some Good Samaritans in Fayetteville are stepping up to help the people impacted by Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico. The Sandhills region Red Cross chapter is sending three local volunteers to brave the elements and support those in need.

The Sandhills Red Cross says they're flying out volunteers tomorrow to help families and to advocate for more government assistance. Their mission is to help hurricane victims gather the resources needed to get them through yet another natural disaster.

"They'll be part of a group down there. The Red Cross is already there. We've pre-positioned supplies."

Phil Harris, the executive director of the Sandhills Red Cross chapter, says volunteers are trained year-round, so they're always ready to serve.

"We're fortunate in the Sandhills we've got committed volunteers and they have specific skills like in this case, disaster assesment. But they're also bilingual. So really, it's that one-on-one relationship. Understanding that the Red Cross is here to help and part of a community that's come to help the people in Puerto Rico."

The volunteers are expected to be on the island for two weeks. Two of the three are Puerto Rican. One of them, Ignacio Rivera, says he looks forward to reconnecting with his homeland.

"I haven't been to the island in two years so it's an experience for me.

Ramon Nieves, also from Puerto Rico, says this is his first service trip. He is travelling with his wife Lori Nieves, a longtime volunteer.

"I have been a soldier. I have been a police officer. So I have been there for people. Community for me, helping community for me is number one," Ramon Nieves said.

"It is an emotional rollercoaster," said Lori Nieves. "Knowing the damage down there, knowing what they've been through."

Harris encourages those who want to help but can't go all the way to Puerto Rico to donate blood at the Red Cross. Harris says the Red Cross is taking donations and that blood will be in large demand for people impacted by the hurricane.