Utah Red Cross volunteers head to Texas, Okla. to assist flooding victims

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SALT LAKE CITY -– Volunteers with the Utah Chapter of the Red Cross are both on the ground and on the way to Texas and Oklahoma.

“We’re able to provide a place to stay. A place that’s safe and warm, and shelter,” said Stan Rosenzweig, a volunteer from Utah.

Rosenzweig arrived in Wichita Falls, Texas this week. He said many people have lost their homes and mental health workers are on scene helping victims cope.

“They were talking to people and helping families and children to adjust to the trauma of being uprooted from their home,” he said.

Utah Red Cross CEO Heidi Ruster said they've deployed four volunteers to Texas, three to Oklahoma and plan to send 10 more from Utah this week.

“We have one truck that just deployed out to Lawton, Oklahoma – it’s our emergency response vehicle,” she said. “And we have our two others on standby, with the understanding that they’ll probably also go out this week.”

Utah volunteer Laura Schoolcraft said the needs are many.

“We do an assessment, see what kind of damage is there,” she said. “And we go from there, you know, open shelters, and kind of figure out what the needs are in the community.”

Rosenzweig said despite the conditions, residents in the area are resilient.

“People in Texas are very strong, you know they say `Don’t mess with Texas,’ and they’ve got a good attitude,” he said. “Again, a lot like Utahns. Utahns like to feel that they can come through things, and I know they can.”

Volunteers will stay in Texas and Oklahoma for at least two weeks and then more volunteers will be sent out as needed. For information on how to volunteer or donate, visit redcross.org.