Northlander Heads to Colo. to Assist with Flood Recovery

Posted at: 09/17/2013 10:53 PM | Updated at: 09/17/2013 11:00 PM
By: Zach Hammer
zhammer@wdio.com

Rescue crews in Colorado say the number of emergency calls is dropping after they've rescued hundreds more people stranded by floodwaters.
 
Now, the lengthy clean-up and recovery process is beginning. And one man from the Northland Chapter of the Red Cross will be there to help coordinate the efforts.
 
Dave Gearou, a 22-year veteran of the Maple Grove Volunteer Fire Dept., will be working with the Community Partners program. Gearou says his experience as a firefighter helps him to understand what the victims of the flood-ravaged Colorado foothills are going through.
 
"You go to a house on fire, and you're dealing with a family who's losing everything. Your heart just goes out to them. You want to do everything you can to help them. That's one of the things we're doing now as Community Partners," said Gearou.
 
Gearou's job as a Community Partner will be to coordinate local groups, and finding where the Red Cross' services can help out.
 
"Maybe there's a niche that the Red Cross can fill in where they're lacking," said Gearou. "You get to meet the people, you get to meet the different organizations up here that are helping. It's just a really good feeling for me."
 
Gearou is the only person from the Duluth-based chapter of the Red Cross; nine other Red Cross volunteers from across Minnesota will be providing mental health assistance and working in shelters there as well.
 
State officials say as many as eight people are believed to be dead. Fewer than 650 people are listed as missing and officials hope the number will continue to decline as the stranded get in touch with families.
 
The death toll is expected to increase but officials say it could take weeks or even months to search through flood-ravaged areas looking for people who died.
 
More than 500 people spend Monday night in one of Red Cross shelters in Colorado.
 
The American Red Cross says the best way you can help is by donating money instead of supplies.
 
You can make a donation by clicking here, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
 
Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013.
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