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RED CROSS VOLUNTEER READY TO ROLL

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Diana Morgan is no stranger to packing her bags quickly and heading off to a town she may never have visited before.
That’s what happens when you’ve worked as a Red Cross volunteer for 21 years.
Morgan, of Dry Ridge, has been deployed to the Falmouth flood in 1997, as well as ice storms in Pendleton County, followed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Most recently, she traveled to Charleston, West Virginia in response to a chemical spill on Jan. 9.

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Morgan’s job was to take Grant County’s Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) to carry water to people in rural areas, where a do not use order for tap water lasted in some areas for 10 days.
The chemical spill caused a water shortage that lasted several days.

Morgan and a partner from Cincinnati worked 12 hours daily for six days.
When the pair found themselves at a grocery store, they were approached by a young mother asking for help.

“She said her son was a special needs child and he refused to drink any water, even from a bottle, after hearing news reports not to drink the water and he was scared,” Morgan said.
The boy was so dehydrated that doctors told his mother if he did not get some fluids in him he would have to be hospitalized.

“She told him that his aunt lived in Cincinnati, which is where we were from, and the 72 cases of water that they brought were safe to drink,” Morgan said. “His mom told him she could make him hot chocolate or fruit punch with the good water.”
Morgan said the encounter made an impression on her, but she wasn’t sure that she or her partner calmed the introverted and shy child’s mind.
She learned the next morning, however, that after their talk, the child started to drink again.

“The mother called headquarters to tell them that we took the time to talk to her child and he went home and immediately drank two bottles of water,” Morgan said.
Morgan said the experience in West Virginia was different than some disasters because there wasn’t much devastation, but the residents couldn’t drink the water or cook with it and weren’t able to bathe in it.
“Neither could we,” she said, with a laugh.

Morgan had just completed ERV training in October including a food safety course. The class was required or she couldn’t be deployed.
“I basically took the class because when Sandy occurred, the Cincinnati area didn’t have anyone to respond because no one was trained to go,” Morgan said.

The Grant County Unit of the Red Cross has 10 volunteers, but are looking for more.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer can go online to ? and fill out an application, pass a background check and attend two orientation classes before being assigned to a team.

“You don’t have to be part of a team to be deployed,” Morgan said.
The Grant County unit stays busy assisting local families with shelter, food and clothing vouchers in the event of a fire. They also provide water and coffee to the fire and other emergency workers at different scenes such as fires, wrecks, etc.
The Grant County chapter meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the Grant County Courthouse.
“We’re always appreciative of donations, which is what rely on to provide help. Donations designated for the Grant County unit means that the money stays in the community,” Morgan said.