SuperTalk Mississippi

MS Red Cross volunteers take “hardship” assignments to Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

Mike Egerton of Tupelo and Ted Berchbill of Byhalia. Courtesy of Missisisppi Red Cross.

Red Cross volunteers Mike Egerton of Tupelo and Ted Brechbill of Byhalia have been deployed to what the organization calls a “hardship” assignment in response to Hurricane Maria. Egerton’s assignment is in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Brechbill’s assignment is in Puerto Rico.

Both men understand that they may live and work in adverse conditions such as outdoors in extreme heat and no air conditioning. Lodging may be in the form of a tent with lots of noise and little to no privacy. Water disruptions will likely impact showering and access to operable restrooms. Their food options will be limited or non-existent, requiring shelf-stable meals. They are warned to anticipate walking long distances on uneven or slippery terrain due to roads impassable to vehicles. Health risks range from possible exposure to dust, mold, and other allergens. Emergency medical services may be difficult to obtain or can even be non-accessible. Because of the severity of the disaster, these volunteers may experience repeated emotional stress.

Brechbill and Egerton are committed to 21 days of service for those who need the Red Cross.

To date, roughly 80 Mississippi Red Cross workers are assisting in relief efforts after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

In their absence, there are volunteers statewide pulling double-duty responding to home fires, military needs, life-saving training and operational tasks.

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