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American Red Cross sends volunteers from Nebraska and Iowa to help with Kentucky tornado relief

Local volunteers voyage to Kentucky to give aid
Posted at 6:37 PM, Dec 13, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Red Cross volunteers will be handing out food, blankets and comfort kits with basic items like washcloths, toothbrushes and toothpaste to those recovering from the effects of a deadly tornado in Kentucky.

"When volunteers are deployed, they could be doing anything from staffing shelters, you know, helping to set up shelters, checking clients in, making sure they have everything they need," said Emily Holley of the American Red Cross Nebraska-Iowa Region.

There's also an urgent need for blood.

"We used about 200 units of blood just over the weekend down there for folks who had been injured in these tornadoes," Holley said.

Nebraska Task Force 1 deployed two members to Kentucky to assist with the tornadoes and storms. Brad Thavenet, Battalion Chief for Lincoln Fire and Rescue, arrived Sunday morning.

"One of the challenges is — Nebraskans will know — it might be bearable during the day with temperatures in 40s to low 50s, but at night it's below freezing and when you don't have a lot of power, structures that people - to house in becomes a challenge for residents who lost everything to relocate especially during inclement weather," Thavenet said.

It's a "mad dash" to meet all the needs.

"Putting your lives back together, all your holiday preparations are gone and where do you turn to to start over? How do you begin to rebuild your lives if you've lost everything?" Thavenet said.

Holley is confident the volunteers will spread Midwestern kindness in Kentucky.

"We are a very hearty people here in the Midwest — we are certainly familiar with tornadoes and tornado recovery. We have people, our volunteers. Most of them are incredibly experienced volunteers who have gone to several disasters," Holley said.

"The camaraderie, the community of others that didn't suffer as much destruction as some, have come together to help each other out, take neighbors in, what we're used to having the Nebraska spirit — you can see the Kentucky spirit alive as well," Thavenet said.

To donate blood or learn more about volunteering, click here.

RELATED: Lincoln firefighter assisting in the Surfside, Florida recovery effort

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