HEROES WANTED: Red Cross in need of Houston volunteers

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With disasters happening every single day, the need is great for volunteers at the American Red Cross. (KTRK)

When sleet, snow and frigid temperatures hit southeast Texas, Red Cross was there.

Volunteers staffed warming centers to make sure everyone could come in out of the cold. The same is true for fires and every disaster you can imagine.

"They try to help them meet those immediate needs, like food or clothing or a safe place to stay," said Ekland Durousseau with Red Cross.

My photographer and I got an inside look at how the Texas Gulf Coast Region of Red Cross operates day-to-day. The phone in the disaster action team room rings around the clock, and the need for volunteers as a whole is great.

"On average, the Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters, the majority of which are home fires. Here in Houston, we respond to about two or two every day," Durousseau continued.

Kraig Emmert has been volunteering for five years. For him, it's a way of saying "thank you."

"Back during [Hurricane] Ike, my son's house down in San Leon was not destroyed, but damaged quite a bit - and I was down there working a lot and Red Cross was down there passing out food, which really made a difference in the working and knowing people were out there caring about what we were doing," he explained.

Getting involved is easy. Training sessions are done every day, and are even available online. All you have to do is go to www.RedCross.org and click on "volunteer" or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Basic training only lasts a few hours, but everyone is taught how to respond to an emergency. The Texas Gulf Coast region has a big responsibility - and covers more than 700 miles of area, from Harlingen to Nacogdoches.

No matter what your experiences, you - yes you - can be a big help.

"The skillset you need is dedication I think, and wanting to help your fellow man."
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societyamerican red crossdisasterdisaster relieffirestormhurricanetexas newsHouston
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