Local Red Cross workers return from helping Hurricane Harvey victims

Posted at 7:03 PM, Sep 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-26 20:03:52-04

Two Northeast Wisconsin Red Cross workers are back home after spending weeks in Texas helping Hurricane Harvey victims. While they say the road to recovery will be long, those affected by the flooding are grateful for the support from the Badger State. 

Bob Mayer served on the front lines of the Hurricane Harvey disaster response. He helped set up the Red Cross' largest shelter ever at a Houston convention center. It shielded 10,000 people from the dangers of the storm.

"Most of the people that were coming in were soaked. You know, they barely made it out of their houses," said Bob Mayer, Disaster Program Manager from the Northeast Wisconsin Chapter.

Executive Director Steve Hansen arrived two weeks later to connect elected officials with agencies in Houston that can help victims get back on their feet.

"It's always kind of a mixed bag of feelings when you're out there, inspiration, sometimes feeling discouraged that we can't do more for people."

Despite the devastation, Houstonians stayed positive.

"Texas strong was the saying that you were seeing all over the place down there, and I truly saw that each and every day that I was there," he explained.

The volunteers said seeing people from across the country coming together to feed, clothe, and show compassion to victims was incredible. Wisconsin alone has recently deployed over 200 people to hurricane zones in Florida, Puerto Rico, and Texas.

"It's come back to me time and time again wherever I go. You know, 'Hey, you're from Wisconsin?Oh thank goodness, you know, you're here to help us,'" said Mayer.

It's a positive reputation Mayer and Hansen are proud of.

The Red Cross said the best way you can help is to donate money, blood, or your time. Classes are going on right now to become a Red Cross volunteer.