Story and Video: Red Cross Volunteers in Florida

This story is written by Red Cross worker Jennifer Ramieh.

Tropical Strom Isaac

Tampa, Florida – For Peter Warchal, this is only his second assignment as a Disaster Mental Health volunteer for the American Red Cross but the Reading, PA native is happy to be called upon for service.

Peter is a licensed professional counselor and spent the last 35 years as a high school guidance counselor. He always tried to instill community involvement and volunteering with his students. But it was more than just speaking the words, Peter wanted to be a role model. So when his daughter married a member of the military special forces, he and his wife, Judy, were drawn to the American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces program. It was that interest that led the both of them to put their professional training to help disaster victims .

Judy is a Professor of Psychology at Alvernia University and between semesters, she also volunteers with the Red Cross in Disaster Mental Health. “We take turns deploying,” says Peter. “Judy just returned from helping in California with the wildfires, now it’s my turn.”

Peter feels very blessed to be in a position in life where he has the ability to give back. “In the United States, you always see people running to a place to help others rather than running away,” says Peter. “The Red Cross is that vehicle to do just that.”

This husband and wife, both Red Cross volunteers and both from Connecticut, share their thoughts on being part of a larger of group of several hundred Red Cross volunteers who are coming to Florida ahead of Hurricane Isaac.Volunteers from as far away as Oregon are descending on the Sunshine State to provide help, hope and comfort in Isaac’s wake.

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