WELLSBORO - An American Red Cross volunteer from Tioga and a family from Wellsboro soon will travel to the Jersey Shore and Staten Island area of New York City to assist with recovery for those affected by the devastation of Superstorm Sandy which hit the northeast coast Oct. 29. It left thousands of people homeless and millions without electrical power.
Emmett Clark, of Tioga, a retired project leader in the mechanical engineering support group at Corning Inc., is traveling to the coast to assist with sheltering and distribution of cleaning supplies, said Kathy Stine, emergency services response specialist with the American Red Cross here.
Clark said he won't know exactly where he is going until he gets dispatched.
CHERYL R. CLARKE/Sun-Gazette
Beth Peterson, right, brings bags of donated shoes and clothing to Melissa Benner to take to victims of Superstorm Sandy over the weekend.
"I was expecting a call Wednesday, so I am not sure when I will be leaving," he said.
Clark has been trained to be a site manager, in charge of an entire site at a "super shelter."
"They may want me to just assist, or truck cargo back and forth. I am able to do a lot of things for them," he said. Clark said he would be gone for about two weeks.
Clark was trained by the Red Cross managing a shelter so he will be "in charge of the whole building."
"The building owners have an agreement with the Red Cross that we are responsible for what happens in the building," he said.
Clark said he has been a Red Cross volunteer for five years. He's helped with disaster relief and assisted at house fires.
The Benner family, of Wellsboro, also is leaving soon to help Sandy survivors in the Point Pleasant Beach and Brick, N.J., areas.
Melanie Benner has set up collection sites around the borough and at her mother Darlene Webster's house on Pierce Street for people to drop off their donations.
Benner said they are going at the request of Alex and Babette Perednia, who moved to New Jersey about a year ago from Middlebury Center, where he served as pastor of the Baptist church.
They now are at the Laurelton Baptist Church in Brick, she said, where many parishioners are dealing with damaged homes.
According to Benner, the need is for everything, from clothing to bedding to toiletries, bottled water and gasoline.
"We are taking as much gasoline and ice as we can because they just can't find any," she said.
She and husband, Merlin, owner of Wildlife Specialists, Hills Creek Road, another drop-off point, will travel with their teenage sons to do some "chain-sawing" of downed tree limbs and hoped to be there for the weekend. Once they know specifically what people need, they will go back return.
"Our plan is, this is a preliminary trip to drop off stuff, say 'I love you' and chain saw all day," she said.
Anyone wishing to drop off donations for the Benners' trip can do so at the Lighthouse Youth Center, behind the Baptist Church on Central Avenue, or at the Sherwood Motel, she said.
Benner said the Sherwood has donated blankets it no longer uses, and she plans on asking for the same type of donations from other motels and hotels in the area.
"The Scripture says you take care of the Body of Christ first and then they can go and help everyone around them," she said.
According to Stine, the Red Cross is in "great need" of people to become registered as volunteers and be trained so "we can send them out."
"We are very limited in the number of people we can send out. I would really encourage people to consider becoming a Red Cross volunteer. Volunteers would expect to be gone for two to three weeks when deployed, she said.
Anyone wishing to donate for Sandy relief should visit the website at www.redcross.org, contact Stine at 61 Main St., Wellsboro, or call 724-2941.