Alaskans discuss volunteering for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

As the end of hurricane season approaches, several local volunteers have been sent to the Lower-48 to assist in the disasters left behind.

We spoke with Red Cross workers about where they are going, and how others can get involved.

While Texas is beginning to dry out from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, there is still work to be done and thousands without homes.

A North Pole local, Nancy Uptgraft, is a volunteer with the Red Cross. With her background in nursing she headed to Houston to help out.

"There are a few jobs I could have. I could go from cot to cot and talk to different people in the centers and see what they need, how they are doing. Make sure they are feeling ok; medication is going well, how are the kids doing? Things like that. Or I could go door to door, go to places where people have gone home and started to get their life together again. We still need to check on them."

While Uptgraft has volunteered for other humanitarian organizations before, this is her first time working with the Red Cross.
She felt compelled to help with Harvey disaster relief because of her own experience in a hurricane.

"I remember living in Florida for 20 years, the hurricanes that hit us and the devastations and the help that we got. I'm lucky enough to be retired, so I have the capability of getting up and going when I want to. It just seemed right for me to go help them."

The Executive Director for the 'Far North and Interior District of the Red Cross of Alaska,' Lori Wilson, says anyone can sign up to be a volunteer.
She says the feeling of helping others during their time of need, never leaves you.

"The thing about when you do it, when you go to an event whether it's a single family fire or a big huge disaster, when you are standing there and people are looking at you, and you know, and they are looking at you with so much gratitude and so much thanks and you are their hope, it's instant gratification. And you know, and you're tired, you're emotionally exhausted but you know what you are doing makes a difference and once you have that bug, you continue on."

If you are interested in enrolling as a volunteer for the Red Cross, you can visit their website at red-cross dot org or call their interior office at 456-5937