MICHIGAN — Over the weekend, several tornadoes touched down in Kentucky and the surrounding states, causing widespread damage. Authorities said at least 60 people have died and over 100 are unaccounted for.
By Monday afternoon, Carol Norwick, from the Muskegon area, was on a flight to Kentucky to volunteer in the area.
“What I am going to be doing when I get to Kentucky is I am working at a shelter being a supervisor,” Norwick said over the phone while boarding her flight. “I’m expecting people that may have lost families, maybe have left their homes. I have done this before and I’m looking forward to helping these people.”
Norwick is a volunteer with the American Red Cross Michigan Chapter. She’s among the five volunteers from the state helping with recovery efforts.
“Right now we do have several shelters open throughout the impacted area. So we have volunteers that are assisting with the sheltering, providing feeding,” said Adam Castle during a Zoom interview on Monday afternoon. “We are working with our national and local partners. They’re on the ground conducting damage assessment to get a really good idea of the scope and scale of what the damage is, the impact for the folks that were affected.”
Castle is the executive director for the Southwest Michigan Chapter. He said they’re also providing mental and emotional help, deployed licensed caregivers to help whoever needs it.
“People when they go to these disasters they don’t know what they’re going to see when they get there. Sometimes there’s no power. Their phones may not work,” said Meghan Lehman, who was also on the Zoom call. “So, it’s really they’re going into an unexpected situation. We’re so grateful that they’re willing to do that. It’s a pretty unusual thing that someone’s willing to get up and sometimes they have a few hours notice and head out that way.”
Lehman said one of the best ways for people to help the Red Cross during this time is through monetary donations or by donating blood.
“It’s not a situation where the blood they donate today somewhere in Michigan is going to go to help these folks in Kentucky,” she said. “But, it's going to help replenish the supply and we’re already in an emergency blood shortage. So, that’s something relatively easy to do for those that can donate blood.”
So far, over 200 blood products have been provided for people in Kentucky, Castle said.
As for Norwick, she like the other volunteers will be there until the end of the month, missing the holidays with family and loved ones. However, she said she’s grateful God had blessed her with the time and ability to serve again.
“[I’m] a little nervous,” Norwick said. “But, it’s going to be fine.”