New Jersey volunteers head to Florida to assist in Hurricane Ian relief effort
Volunteers from New Jersey are traveling south to assist as Hurricane Ian brings destruction to Florida.
The Red Cross of New Jersey already has some volunteers on the ground in Florida. Many more are on standby for the anticipated relief efforts.
This all comes as some New Jersey residents join their friends and families in Florida to ride out the storm.
Frank Lemkan and his wife Chris, of Tinton Falls, are staying with their friends in Fort Meyers. They say they never thought to leave before the hurricane came since they are located about 10 miles inland.
“People who are evacuating from the beach are probably coming to this area. The people we are staying with are from New Jersey also. They’re tough also – New Jersey tough,” says Lemkan.
Hundreds of miles away from Hurricane Ian's wrath, American Red Cross of New Jersey Regional CEO Rosie Taravella has a message for those who didn't or couldn't evacuate but may need assistance after the storm passes.
“The American Red Cross is going to have several hundred shelters open in the area. That’s why we have so many volunteers on standby - including our wonderful New Jersey volunteers - because the biggest need for the longest period of time will be sheltering,” Taravella says.
There are 10 volunteers from New Jersey in Florida currently. They are helping to set up and operate the shelters.
News 12 caught up with Taravella at a training session in Trenton. She is also on standby to help with relief work once the storm passes.
“We've been through it - been through Hurricane Sandy and know how generous others are and how other volunteers came and helped us here in New Jersey. And now we're hoping to do the same for our brothers and sisters down south,” she says.
News 12 has reached out to the New Jersey State Police to see if any troopers would be heading to Florida but did not hear back.
PSE&G says it is releasing 48 contracted employees to provide aid. It is holding additional crews in preparation for any New Jersey impact this weekend.