Make your home page

Hoosier volunteers heading south to help Louisiana flood victims

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Authorities estimate more than 40,000 homes have been damaged by Louisiana’s massive flooding.

More than 30,000 people have been rescued and at least 70,000 have registered for federal disaster assistance.

About 6,000 residents remain in shelters.

Those victims are getting help from American Red Cross volunteers from across the country, including here in Indiana.

The Red Cross estimates that 14 people from the Hoosier State are in Louisiana or on their way.

The McDaniels will leave bright and early Thursday morning.

Deb and Jesse McDaniel said their Emergency Response Vehicle, or ERV, is critical in disasters like the Louisiana flooding.

And they are the volunteers specially trained to deliver the Indiana ERV to Baton Rouge and drive it while they’re there.

“I think they’ve requested about 20 ERVs from the Midwestern area,” Deb McDaniel said.

They might start volunteering at a mobile kitchen.

“We would probably be going to that place, loading up with meals, water, and then delivering them to a shelter or some areas where it’s needed,” Jesse McDaniel said.

Or they could hand out cleaning supplies through neighborhood streets.

“As you stop, people will come from their home and you hand them whatever they need,” Jesse said.

The husband and wife team are nearly becoming professionals at helping those in need.

They became Red Cross volunteers in 2010.

“(Hurricane) Katrina was the tipping point for us because we were still working then, we couldn’t go down to help,” Deb said, “But it was such a major disaster and there was such a need and I thought I really want to do that one day, so that’s why we joined up as soon as we retired.”

They’ve helped during Hurricanes Sandy and Issac.

“We did the Kokomo tornadoes a couple years ago, we were up in Flint, Michigan earlier this year with the water disaster,” Deb said.

“We would load the back of the ERV with pallets full of bottled water cases,” Jesse said.

They’re glad they have the time and ability to help the Red Cross as well as those in need in Louisiana.

The Red Cross is asking for volunteers to help the flood victims.

Those can either be boots on the ground volunteers or remote workers here in Indiana.

Click here if you are interested in being a Red Cross volunteer.