MADISON, Wis. - After three weeks straight of providing flood disaster relief for southern Wisconsin, you’d think local Red Cross volunteers Judy Giacomino and June Shakhashiri could use a break.
Mother Nature is often unrelenting, and with Hurricane Florence blasting the Carolinas, Judy and June’s services are being called on once again.
Both volunteers have Thursday off, then will board a flight and arrive in Raleigh by Saturday to help with hurricane recovery efforts.
“We had volunteers from North Carolina helping southern Wisconsin out during our historic flooding. It’s nice to be able to return the favor,” Judy Giacomino said.
Judy and June are part of the “Disaster Assessment Team,” which is the second wave of Red Cross volunteers. They’ll find the hardest hit areas, and provide vital food, shelter, and supplies to those who need it most after the storm has passed.
The most important lesson the two have learned from the Wisconsin floods is to practice patience. They weren’t able to even get to some flood victims or zones for three days.
“There's nothing worse to recover from than flooding,” explained Giacomino. “It takes so long for the water to go down, and then to clean up afterwards, so we expect to be there a while.”
Officials say the quick turnaround from helping with local flooding to Florence is part of what makes these volunteers so special.
“People like Judy and June, they do it because they have big hearts and they've been trained to go and help people,” Communications Director of the Red Cross of Wisconsin Justin Kern said. “So it's no surprise to me that they would be up and ready to do that.”
June Shakhashiri knows that just like with the recent Wisconsin flooding, it’s going to take a village to get through the hurricane.
“One of us can't get the job done, right? It's going to take thousands of us to get in there and accomplish what needs to be done.”
Judy and June will be in the Carolinas and Virginia for at least three weeks, helping out wherever they can.
If you want to help out, you can find out ways to assist in hurricane relief efforts at redcross.org.