Press Release: Red Cross Responding in Storm Affected Miss. Counties

February 13, 2013

Red Cross Responding in Storm Affected Miss. Counties

HATTIESBURG, MS, WEDNESDAY, February 13, 2013—The American Red Cross continues response today in communities throughout Central and South Mississippi.

Disaster Action Teams (DAT) are on the ground in the affected counties. Red Cross is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and local emergency managers to continue damage assessment.

“Red Cross is focused on people’s emergency needs and has moved volunteers, equipment and supplies into affected communities,” said Charles Blake, Director of Relief Operations, American Red Cross. “We are continuing to monitor the weather patterns and are on alert to provide additional assistance to the citizens of South Mississippi as needed. We’re also expanding our partnership with community and faith-based organizations to meet the needs in our communities.”

Red Cross is opening four Emergency Aid Stations today to provide health services and emotional support; the stations will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


– Property adjacent to destroyed Red Cross office, 606 Hutchinson Ave. in Hattiesburg;

– Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Office, 753 Weatherly Rd. in Purvis;

– Dollar General Store, 121 South Main Street in Petal;

– Mt. Carmel Church, 1101 North Main Street in Hattiesburg

The Southern Baptist Convention and The Salvation Army are partnering with Red Cross for mobile and shelter feeding, and are on the move serving meals and distributing relief items. Emergency Aid Stations were setup today in Petal and Hattiesburg distributing food, water and emergency supplies, and providing health services and emotional support. Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) are in affected communities delivering bulk distribution items.

To find a Red Cross shelter, people can download the Red Cross Hurricane app (, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). For a list of items to bring with you to the shelter, visit The following shelters are open.

  • Forrest County 361 Shelter on Sullivan Road off Hwy. 49 South in Hattiesburg, Forrest County
  • Lamar County Community Center at 99 Central Industrial Road in Purvis, Lamar County
    • Indian Springs Baptist Church, 500 Indian Springs Church Road, Laurel, Jones County

Nearly 100 trained Red Cross disaster workers are providing emotional support, food, water and emergency supplies like cleanup kits and comfort kits to people in need.

Anyone seeking assistance with disaster-related needs, should contact their local Red Cross Office, search “Red Cross Mississippi” on Facebook or follow @RedCrossMiss on Twitter. For a list of Red Cross Offices and contact numbers, visit

If someone would like to help people affected by emergencies like yesterday’s storms, they can visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross Office.

Those affected can let loved ones know they are safe by registering on the Red Cross Safe and Well website. The site is secure and people can register by visiting or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. This site also connects with the Twitter and Facebook accounts of users.


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STORY: The Unexpected Completion of the Circle of American Red Cross Care

February 13, 2013


Coming full circle now has real meaning to American Red Cross Mississippi volunteers Mitchell and Hazel Rodgers after Sunday’s historic tornado destroyed their West Hattiesburg neighborhood.

Since suffering a stroke this past fall, Hazel finds herself spending more time in her bed resting than she cares to, as well as her husband who has health concerns that prevent them from being active volunteers.

“We were both in bed Sunday afternoon when the sirens began to sound,” states the soft spoken Hazel. “I hate to admit it, but after hearing sirens for what seemed like an hour, I decided nothing was going to happen.” One of her daughters, Melissa Taylor realized it was suddenly dark outside. Opening the door, she frantically screamed “Momma it’s a tornado!” as she could now see the three quarter mile wide EF-4 tornado, packing winds of 170mph headed towards their home four blocks from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Melissa quickly ran to her parent’s room, quickly placing an oxygen mask on her father unable to leave his bed. She then grabbed her son Taylor, 13, running to the bathroom where she threw him into the tub, as she laid on top of him.
“The house began to vibrate, “stated Hazel. “My bed began to shake so violently it knocked me out of the bed to the floor.” All survived amazingly without injury, but the home was destroyed.

Her other daughter Mitchellyn Rodgers, who lives in the same neighborhood, was also seeking safety, racing with her 13 year old son Thomas and Makalynn, 10 to their bathroom, as all three held on to each other in the shower.

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Press Release: Red Cross Shelter is Open to Assist Storm Victims

January 30, 2013

NASHVILLE, Wednesday, January 30, 2013 – In the aftermath of the violent storms and tornadoes that swept through the state last night, the American Red Cross is currently assisting 30 local families across 10 counties in Middle and Western Tennessee today. Affected counties include: Chester, Davidson, Fayette, Henderson, Hickman, Madison, Robertson, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson. The number of families and the geographical area that was affected continues to grow as the Red Cross receives notifications of additional damage in other areas. An emergency shelter has been set up to provide a safe place to stay for those who need it.

WHAT: Emergency shelter location
WHO: Local residents affected by overnight storms
WHY: To help meet emergency disaster-caused needs
WHEN: Wednesday, January 30th
Northside Church of Christ
1375 Old Hickory Blvd.,
Nashville, TN

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Disaster Alert: Possible Tornado in Tennessee

January 30, 2013

Disaster Alert

Tennessee – Severe weather and a possible tornado touchdown caused some damages to buildings in Davidson County earlier today affecting about 19 families.

There are unconfirmed reports of a building collapse in Lawrenceburg and extensive damage in Mt. Juliet.

1 fatality has been confirmed by police authorities in Davidson County.

The Nashville Area Chapter has opened its DOC, activated Disaster Action Teams (DAT) and will be opening a shelter for the displaced residents; damage assessment will be done later today.

Video: Partnering for Relief in Lancaster, TX

April 9, 2012

Story: Home Depot workers help with tornado effort

April 5, 2012

This story is written by Red Cross worker Rusty Surette, who is currently deployed to Texas.

Texas Tornadoes (Apr 2012)

The American Red Cross is working around the clock to bring relief, support and comfort to those affected by the tornado outbreak in North Texas this week.

Not only are volunteers meeting with families who have lost their homes, but they are also taking care of first responders and other organizations and groups helping out.

One of those groups is Home Depot. On Wednesday, an estimated 180 store employees descended into communities impacted by the tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“It’s important for us to be in communities when times are good. It’s also important for us to be in communities when times are bad,” said Home Depot Store Manager Trina Booker.

The employees will be boarding up broken windows, replacing smashed fences and clearing tree limbs and other debris from yards over the next several days. As the crew worked non-stop under the warm Wednesday sun, the American Red Cross was there in Arlington to hand out bottles of water, snacks and lunches to exhausted employees.

“It was really needed and we were thrilled to see the Red Cross trucks coming around the corner,” said Booker. “It’s just great to know your Red Cross volunteers are here to help us as we are helping others.”

The Home Depot teams will be in affected neighborhoods for the rest of the week providing immediate clean-up assistance. Next to them will be Red Cross workers offering hot meals, beverages, comfort kits and cleaning supplies.

When disaster strikes, no one agency can do it alone. That’s why we rely on our corporate citizens like Home Depot to step up, pitch it and make a difference for those who need help the most.

If you would like to help, please go online to to give your time as a volunteer, your blood as a donor or your money as a financial gift to help continue our mission.

Story: Children Survive Storm that Landed Pet Horse in Grandparents’ Kitchen

March 19, 2012

This story is written by Angela Nicholas, a Red Cross worker.

March Tornado Relief 2012
Six-year-old Shelby Cole, who survived the March 2 Kentucky tornado, listens intently to American Red Cross Mental Health volunteer Alex Weinstein of the Greater Carolinas Chapter in Charlotte.

When Barbara Green and her husband dug their way out of the rubble that was their home before the March 2 tornado ripped through West Liberty, Kentucky, they found their horse lying on the kitchen floor. The couple rode out the storm in the hallway of their home and survived without injury. “We got up and dug our way out. I found the tornado had carried our horse through the roof and into our kitchen. It was laying on its side but was okay,” she said.

Green brought her two granddaughters, Audrey Cole, 3, and Shelby Cole, 6, with her to Morgan Central Elementary School where the Red Cross had set up a Service Center to provide resources for tornado survivors. The girls and their parents also lost their home to the storm. Green said the horse and the rest of the family’s animals except for one dog that was killed were okay and being tended by West Liberty veterinarian Dave Fugit. They included a cat with a broken leg and a cat with a broken jaw, but otherwise, the injuries were not too severe.

“Our animals were trapped,” said Shelby, who noted that the family has a donkey, chickens and ducks as well. “It was sad and scary.” Her little sister described what the storm did to their house, saying, “It flew everywhere.”

Both children were greeted at the Center by Volunteer Mental Health Professionals Bruce Funk of York County, Pennsylvania, and Alex Weinstein of Charlotte, N.C. Funk spent some time talking to them and presented them with small Mickey Mouse toys to cheer them up. Weinstein then chatted with the older child and used art to help her work through her fears. Green received assistance to help the family get back on the road to recovery, and the little girls left the Center smiling.


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