Local woman deployed to island for hurricane relief with Red Cross

JACKSON, Tenn. — A number of states, territories and islands in the Atlantic have been hit during a very active hurricane season. With help needed in so many affected areas, one of West Tennessee’s own will be assisting with recovery efforts in one of the hardest hit areas.

Early Friday morning, the Mid-West Tennessee chapter of the American Red Cross will send its disaster program manager to the Virgin Islands. The 21-day deployment begins in just a couple of hours.

“When you sign up, you know what you’re signing up for,” Mid-West Tennessee Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Heather Carbajal said. “If they feel like they need me out there, I’m more than happy to go help.”

Although she just returned from Louisiana 72 hours ago, her bags are packed once again and she’s ready to go. At 6 a.m. Friday, Carbajal will board a flight to the island of St. Thomas with the Red Cross.

“It is very basic out there in terms of where we are at with our response,” Carbajal said. “We are still sheltering, still feeding. We’re still helping people to respond to the disaster. We haven’t moved into a lot of recovery yet.”

Right now only 15 percent of the island has power. So Carbajal hopes while she is there the Red Cross can move beyond hurricane relief and start the recovery process.

“They can start going back to their homes where power is restored. Then we can really start focusing on that recovery aspect,” Carbajal said.

Overall, the mission is to alleviate human suffering in these areas hit hard by the recent hurricanes.

“We still need help,” Carbajal said. “We’ve been slammed by hurricanes this season between Harvey, Irma, Maria, Nate, and our work is far from over.”

Although you may not be physically able to help those hit by recent hurricanes, the Red Cross is still collecting donations to help all affected get back on their feet.

If you want to volunteer locally, contact the Mid-West Tennessee Chapter of the American Red Cross. You can visit their website here.