Local Red Cross volunteers aiding people affected by Hurricane Dorian

Local News

Hurricane Dorian continues to move north along the coast. Parts of Massachusetts and Maine are on alert, while down south, residents are cleaning up from the storms damage.

17 Red Cross volunteers from Hawaii are helping. One of them, James Bell, is in South Carolina.

He is volunteering in Myrtle Beach as a disaster spiritual care volunteer, offering mental and emotional support to people in shelters.

“If someone is anxious, [I] try to help them be encouraged and just know that this isn’t going to last forever, and let them know that we’re here to support them and be with them,” said Bell.

He says there were almost 700 people in shelters Wednesday night. Many of them in those shelters needed to hear that after weathering Hurricane Dorian.

“The wind starts to kick up. You start to hear things blowing. It can be a little unnerving,” said Bell.

However, the action wasn’t just outside the shelter, but inside as well.

“The night that the hurricane was at its strongest, and everyone was sheltered in place at our shelters, we did have a pregnant woman, and baby decided that she wanted to come out now,” said Bell.

He says emergency crews had to drive through the storm to get her to the hospital where she had her baby.

Bell’s focus is now helping those in shelters return to their homes.

“Sometimes when things like this happen, the mind starts to imagine things that are bigger that are worse, even though the weather may be saying something different,” said Bell.

He says one of his proud moments was helping a father with four foster children, who was overcome with anxiety. He said he was able to help calm him down and focus on what he needed to take care of.

“I really think the flooding was one of the bigger issues for this area. When I was driving to some of the shelters today, the water was really high, much higher than I felt comfortable driving next to,” said Bell.

However, he says it’s all worth it.

“Our version of aloha here is more of a hands on kind of mission, sometimes its a hug, but a lot of times, its just making sure people have food and a roof over their head when there’s a pretty big storm.”

James Bell, Hawaii Red Cross Volunteer

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