Arizona Red Cross volunteers helping with Hurricane Ian recovery

Nearly twenty Red Cross volunteers from Arizona are on the ground in Florida this week.
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 7:50 PM MST|Updated: Oct. 3, 2022 at 9:09 PM MST
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FORT MYERS, FL (3TV/CBS 5) - Southwest Florida will never be the same after Hurricane Ian destroyed homes and businesses last week. Now volunteers from across the country are in the Sunshine State trying to bring some relief to people who lost everything.

Nearly twenty Red Cross volunteers from Arizona are on the ground in Florida this week. Randy Ogden is a retired Tucson firefighter and signed up to be a volunteer at the start of the year. Since then, he’s helped people impacted by California wildfires, but he’s never seen damage like this week around the Fort Myers area. “This is much larger and devastating. Power lines are down, and people have generators trying to cool off. I’ve been to lots of wildfires but I’ve never been to a hurricane before. This is a whole different animal.”

Ogden and his team are surveying the damage and deciding if homes are safe enough for people to return. He is slated to be there for the next ten days, but with all the damage, he expects to stay longer. “Its such a big devastated area and there is so much to do,” says Ogden. “We’re all seeing the suffering. What we’re seeing doesn’t compare to what they are living. Puts it into perspective. We’re here to help, but they’re living it.”

Red Cross Spokesperson Sherri McKinney is also in Florida. She says the devastation is unbelievable. “We saw things we’ve heard over and over again how it looks like a war zone like an atomic bomb went off. That is not an exaggeration. It really is as bad as what you’re seeing and then some. It’s hard to convey through a photo how severe this is.” McKinney says Hurricane Ian’s recovery may be one of the longest recovery efforts in the history of the Red Cross.

If you’d like to help donate to relief efforts through the Red Cross, click here.