SIDNEY — Volunteers and staff members of the American Red Cross have always been willing to go anywhere in the world to help people during a disaster, and this is proving to be true at the moment in the Northern Miami Valley Ohio area.
Marc Cantrell, a disaster program specialist for the American Red Cross Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter, left Tuesday for a two-week deployment to Saskatchewan, Canada, where the Canadian Red Cross has requested assistance from the American Red Cross to deal with the massive wildfires burning in the province’s northern region. The Red Cross is assisting between 7,000-12,000 people who have been relocated to shelters as a result of the wildfires, making this the largest evacuation in the country’s history.
Cantrell, who lives in Sidney, Ohio, has extensive experience in dealing with disasters, both locally and internationally. Prior to accepting his current role in April, he was the volunteer emergency services coordinator in Miami and Shelby counties. He also served as disaster relief director for the Red Cross in South Carolina where he managed 31 churches, training parishioners to prepare for disasters. He also worked in El Salvador, helping the country rebuild after devastating earthquakes; in FEMA centers in Florida doing crisis management following the 2004 hurricanes; in Sri Lanka helping after the 2005 tsunami that killed 50,000 people; and in New Orleans doing crisis management after hurricanes Katrina and Ike. Additionally, Cantrell served in the United States Marine Corps from 1978-1984 as a communications specialist and in the National Guard from 1988-1989.
Cantrell is one of five trained members of the Greater Cincinnati-Dayton Region to be deployed to Canada.
“This is what our volunteers and staff train, practice and exercise to do; this type of immediate response wherever we go,” said Executive Director Lynne Gump. “Immediately, staff member Randy Earl was assigned to support area volunteers in NMVO Chapter, many of which are still doing casework for Logan County flooding and as always support for the many family fires that volunteers respond to every day in the community. “
The Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter encompasses six counties — Darke, Miami, Shelby, Logan, Champaign and Clark — and has 379 volunteers giving of themselves by delivering the mission of the American Red Cross. However, many more volunteers are needed. For more information about how to become a volunteer, reach out online at www.redcross.org/nmvo or call your local Red Cross Chapter office. The Sidney office phone number is 937-492-6151.