East Tenn. Red Cross volunteers head to Florida before Hurricane Matthew


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Some East Tennessee Red Cross volunteers are headed south preparing for Hurricane Matthew to hit U.S. coasts. The storm made landfall in Haiti overnight hitting the shores with 145 mph winds. The hurricane is headed straight for the U.S.

Two volunteers in Knoxville were packing up Tuesday to head to Florida with more possibly following later. Glenn Keller was loading up their Emergency Response Vehicle.

“This is what Red Cross will either feed from or do paperwork from to help disaster clients,” Keller said.

He and one other volunteer from East Tennessee were hitting the road Tuesday afternoon.

Keller is a veteran volunteer of 10 years and has seen a lot.

Related story: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley plans evacuation ahead of Hurricane Matthew

“Every one is different. Hurricane Sandy, I went up there. I left Knoxville at 9:00 at night and ended up in New Jersey in a shelter for two weeks. I worked the shelter that time,” he said.

This time he will be in the Emergency Response Vehicle delivering supplies and food. They are heading down to Tallahassee, Florida, but depending on the track of the hurricane and the extent of the damage they could be diverted to somewhere else and more East Tennessee volunteers could be deployed.

“It’s strange because we may go there and sit for a day or so because we’ve got to be there. We can’t wait until it hits,” Keller said.

They never know what is headed their way, but they are always ready to lend a helping hand.

“We deliver food. When we’re in the neighborhoods we’ll just encourage people, listen to them,” Keller said.

Fourteen Red Cross volunteers from Tennessee and seven Emergency Response Vehicles are being deployed to Florida in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew.

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