Red Cross volunteers, CenterPoint Energy crews from Houston headed to Oklahoma

May 21, 2013 3:30:20 PM PDT
Houstonians are quickly mobilizing to help our hurting neighbors to the north in Oklahoma.

Red Cross workers tell us the phones have been ringing off the hook. We've also talked to other Houstonians who are packing up to help out disaster victims at such a crucial time.

At the American Red Cross of Greater Houston, disaster relief trucks are stocked and on standby right now. And the first round of Houston-based volunteers are on their way to help out in the tornado-hit areas of Oklahoma.

Richard Manning, who has volunteered many times before, will be setting up the computer network. That's how Red Cross workers will keep track of people and get them what they need.

Manning says time is the main factor in his job with the organization. He says they'll have the computers and the internet up and running within 24 hours.

Logan Rutherford is a chaplain who'll be helping families who lost loved ones.

"To be there, a shoulder to cry on, and somebody to help make sense of things. As you can imagine, they are probably in a great state of shock right now., especially those families that have lost children," said Rutherford.

It's an equally busy time for Houston's CenterPoint Energy workers. A crew of 60 is on the road heading to Oklahoma right now. The team of linemen is expected to help out in some of the areas hardest hit by Monday's tornadoes. They will be working alongside power crews already there to restore power to more than 800,000 people across parts of Oklahoma and western Arkansas.

Another crew of 30 is expected to leave Wednesday.

"It looks pretty bad up there. It looks like a lot of it's going to be trying to just rebuild some of their infrastructure. You never know until you get there," said Lane Mangum with CenterPoint.

Also keeping a close eye on the devastated area is University of Oklahoma alumni. Members of the OU Club of Houston say about 8,000 Sooners familiar with that area of Tornado Alley are living across Houston right now.

"We want to reach out. We want to offer our prayers, our sympathy, our support, and our aid as best we can," said Tim Gregg with the OU Club of Houston.

The club is planning to put together a convoy of relief supplies.

The Red Cross is also accepting donations and workers say money raised will go towards this disaster and future disasters.

Many of you are asking how you can help the victims. The easiest way to help is to text the Red Cross. If you send the message REDCROSS to the number 90999, you'll send a $10 donation. You can also call 1-800-Red-Cross anytime.
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