Residents fly to help hurricane victims

Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2005

While New Orleans residents were fleeing the city trying to escape Hurricane Katrina, a Kenai resident was about to hop on a plane to go into the middle of the action. And some more Kenai Peninsula residents may follow next month.

Victor Hett, an American Red Cross volunteer, was on standby Monday afternoon waiting for word on when he will fly to Houston to begin relief work for communities along the Gulf Coast.

"It's a little vacation, well not a vacation actually," he said.

After arriving in Houston, Hett will be dispatched to one of the states affected by the hurricane.

Hett just returned from hurricane relief duty in Florida and Texas last month only to turn around and head straight back to Texas.

He has been trained in "response technology" and helps set up communication systems in disaster areas. However, he said he pitches in wherever help is needed.

"I expect to see a lot of destruction," he said, adding the sights will probably not be happy ones. For this hurricane, Hett said he expects volunteers will be there for quite a while.

This is the fourth time in less than six months Hett has traveled to provide disaster relief, according to Annette Hakkinen, branch manager for the Kenai Peninsula district office of the American Red Cross of Alaska.

After Sept. 15, Marty Radvansky of Soldotna and Carla Stanley of Homer will go to the region to help, as well, she said. She is still looking for commitments for other trained volunteers to go, too.

Radvansky, a 15-year Red Cross volunteer, said he has found a niche being able to help people affected by disaster.

He works with family services talking to victims and determining what basic needs can be met.

He has seen hurricane devastation before but said he expects this one to affect a huge area.

He said he will probably see "pure chaos (and) destruction."

For information on becoming a Red Cross volunteer, informative brochures or classes, call 283-4556.

American Red Cross disaster assistance is free.

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