East TN Red Cross looks back on 2013

(WBIR) The American Red Cross in East Tennessee released some of it's annual response numbers this week, helping out at around 1,000 disasters in 2013. 380 were right here in the Tennessee Valley.

East Tennessee was home to many disasters throughout 2013. And Red Cross crews were on scene for a great number of them. The large cabin fire in Pigeon Forge last March, the fatal church bus accident in October, even to disasters as recent as the Southwood Apartment fire.

Scott Hensley and Lisa Gryder volunteered for a number of these disasters.

The couple joined the volunteer efforts this year to help give back what was given to them.

"I had a house fire 12 years ago and red cross was there for me," said Gryder.

"The red cross helped us. They were there for us. And also it makes you feel good when you go out and help other people," said Hensley.

Hensley and Gryder had the responsibility of finding a warm place to stay for the 14 victims of the Southwood apartment fire.

"When we work it's a team work. It's not just one person. It's not just me, or the Red Cross it's a whole team," said Gryder.

On a National scale, the Red Cross sent out 16,700 workers over the year for disasters and providing care, organized 29,000 overnight stays in shelters for people forced from their homes from disaster, and served 1.8 million meals and snacks to victims.

Although East Tennessee has not seen the devastation from certain kinds of natural disasters, the Red Cross chapter likes to be prepared.

A spokesperson with the Red Cross said the Christmas holiday brings along many house fires, which means the Red Cross will need more volunteers.

If you would like to chip in and volunteer, contact your local American Red Cross office.


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