Capital Region Red Cross volunteers help California fire victims

December 07, 2017 07:29 PM

With homes destroyed and hundreds of thousands forced to evacuate from California wildfires, there's a tremendous need for help. That's where local volunteers come in.

It's not someplace most people would head towards, but that's exactly what Red Cross volunteers do.

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"When we got on the ground, we had to wear masks the entire time, for at least the first week and a half, because there was just smoke in the air," described Mike Tripodi, a Red Cross volunteer.

Tripodi has been with the Red Cross for 19 years and just got back from Sacramento and Santa Rosa.

"A lot of people lost their houses. However, the community though really came together," pointed out Tripodi. "They were helping us build sifters for those to go through the ashes to help find the jewelry and other stuff like that."

However, there's a lot more work to be done. Bob Dominico headed out Thursday morning. He's really not sure what he expects to see.

"Every time you hit the ground, things can change the direction," explained Dominico.

His last mission was to help with Hurricane Harvey in Louisiana and Texas, but he knows wildfires are a lot different than hurricanes.

"It's a little scary for me, because I don't know, like I say, it's dynamics, so it's always changing. So you don't know where you're going to be, what you're going to be doing, if you're going to be put in danger. The Red Cross does not put you in danger, but things are dynamic and things always change so you never know," he acknowledged.

The retiree knows people need his help and he's not shying away.

"It's rewarding. When you get a hug and you hug back, it's touching. It feels good," he admitted.


WNYT Staff

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