Mississippians to aid Fla., Colo.

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Red Cross workers from the Northeast Mississippi Chapter depart today for the disaster-stricken states of Florida and Colorado to aid in local relief efforts.
Colorado battles at least a dozen wildfires, including the state’s second-largest blaze – The High Park Fire – which has destroyed nearly 90,000 acres and numerous homes. Two employees from the Tupelo Red Cross office leave this morning to provide technical and operations assistance there, said Rachel Potts, the chapter’s community response coordinator.
Two volunteers also leave this morning for Florida, where Tropical Storm Debby has caused massive flooding and mandatory evacuations as it dumps up to 2 feet of rain in some places with strong chances for more throughout the week.
Red Cross volunteer Joe Lukas is heading up the Florida mission and said he’ll drive the chapter’s Emergency Response Vehicle to Tallahassee, Fla., where he’ll pick up supplies to distribute throughout the state.
Lukas and another volunteer are expected to stay up to three weeks, he said.
“This is our chance to pay back our neighbors,” said chapter Executive Director Patty Tucker. “After the tornadoes last spring, we had a lot of volunteers from the region.”
The local chapter deploys volunteers several times per year to assist other communities, Tucker said. Hurricane season typically is the peak time for such deployments.