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College student headed to help with Florence

Posted at 4:57 PM, Sep 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-14 17:57:15-04

TULSA -- The Red Cross in Oklahoma is sending several members of their team to help residents on the East Coast face Hurricane Florence and its aftermath. 

Madison Shoemaker is one. She is a junior in college at Northeastern State in Broken Arrow and a member of their volunteer disaster reaction team. 

She boarded a flight to South Carolina Friday afternoon to work in an evacuation shelter. 

"I'm ready to do 12 hours shifts," Shoemaker said. "I'm ready to get in there and work as hard as I can."

About 2,000 Red Cross disaster workers have been sent to help with the effects of Hurricane Florence. 

The Red Cross reports as of midnight, 14,000 people were in 124 shelters in North Carolina and 5,600 people in 59 shelters in South Carolina. 

She said she feels prepared, even though she found out she was being sent Thursday night. 

This is Shoemaker's first natural disaster with the Red Cross. Typically, she is on scene after house fires. 

"Most of the time they are your neighbors," Shoemaker said. "They are the people that you see every day at the supermarket and then you get that call at 2 a.m. and their house is on fire. They know you and they trust you because you're part of their community."

Even though she lives in Oklahoma, Shoemaker has family in the areas being hit by Hurricane Florence. She feels like that is her community too. 

She wants to provide a sense of comfort and trust to the people who packed up what they could and left their homes behind. 

"Making sure this isn't one of the worst times in their lives, even though it is," Shoemaker said. "I will be there to support make sure that they feel O.K."

The college student wants to provide the sense of stability people on the East Coast are lacking right now. She wants to let them know the Red Cross is going to be there for them for the long haul. 

"I think you tell them it's O.K.," Shoemaker said. "It's O.K. to not know what is going to happen tomorrow. It's O.K. to not know what's going to happen in the next two weeks."

She will be there for two weeks and plans to go back after her semester of school ends to help in any way she can. 

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