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Indiana woman going to Mississippi to help tornado victims

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indiana woman is preparing to go on her eighth disaster relief trip with the American Red Cross to help pick up the pieces after a deadly tornado ripped through Mississippi on March 24.

Suzi Dietrich has been volunteering with the American Red Cross for three years and is a well-traveled volunteer. Dietrich says the work isn’t easy but it’s fulfilling to help.

“It makes me feel good,” Dietrich said. “Someone feels really bad, and I just go and help them and listen to them and just a little bit of hope.”

In her few years with the Red Cross, she has seen indescribable destruction across the country.

“All the trees that are down and the utility poles that are down and all the debris everywhere and all the cars that are upside down,” Dietrich said.

This time, Dietrich will help connect people with services such as shelter, medical aid, counseling and clothing. “I’m going to be working more or less in an office and doing what’s called ‘intake.’ I’ll be starting casework for the clients to get them the resources they need for a recovery.”

The work can take a toll on people who respond. Dietrich said they lean on each other but, in the end, it is worth it to help those most in need. “Right away, we’ll say, ‘Hey, are we starting to get things set up? Sign me up! Send me out there! I’ll go do what I can do.’ Everyone just jumps at the chance to say, ‘Hey, I’m ready, let’s go!’ We just can’t wait to go to help.”

Dietrich will leave Thursday for deployment in Flowood, Mississippi, about 15 minutes outside of Jackson.

Deployments for disaster relief are two-week stints at a minimum. Dietrich said she will consider extending her time if she is asked.