Local Tri-Cities residents Byron and Beatriz Corley, of Union City, are among the thousands of Red Cross volunteers helping with relief efforts on the east coast in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The Corleys flew out the morning of Friday, Nov. 2 and are stationed in New Jersey, where they are distributing supplies to families and individuals impacted by the storm.
A longtime Red Cross volunteer, Byron Corley shares with Patch his accounts of volunteering during the superstorm. (Read his first guest column here.)
Monday, Nov. 5
We are on limited electricity provided by an emergency diesel generator. We only have emergency lighting so we still use flashlights in our sleeping quarters, which happens to be the media room.
The first few days were quite skimpy on food, snacks, coffee, bedding and general supplies. But now we have had multiple deliveries of food, blankets, snacks, fresh fruit, cleaning supplies toiletries, etc. As usual, the Red Cross is inundating us with goodies.
The residents are very good and do not try to hoard but readily take a fair share. Unloading trucks is a lot of manual labor and everyone lends a hand.
I work nights and Beatriz works days. We are on 12-hour shifts and get a shower every three days. There is only hot water in the boys’ gym shower so the ladies have to share a shower with the men. Red Cross folks and clients all use the same facilities and so far there has not been any problems.
The school is starting to get some power back so we may go off of the generator in a few days. That will be nice. Some residents have gone home because they now have electricity but others are arriving because they have run out of their personal supplies and now need help. We have five dogs in the shelter and locals as well as the Red Cross have supplied all the needs of the pets. No other pets have been brought to the shelter except dogs.
As a location device, we are at the Sandy Hook lighthouse which is at the top of a hill and has been there since Henry Hudson cruised these waters, or so they say. Beatriz and I took a walk over to the lighthouse yesterday and it only took a few minutes.
From that vantage point, we could see lots of damage and the seashore has been literally rearranged in lots of places.
We could see New York City in the distance, and planes landing and departing at JFK. The locals we met there were having trouble identifying the shoreline that they have known since birth.
We have been told that we will get 150 clients this evening to add to the 62 we have now. Needless to say our food, water and supplies will go quickly but we have enough cots and blankets to accommodate new arrivals. So far the Red Cross has been great in delivery of needed items but the local stores and restaurants are supplying most of the hot meals and local volunteers are serving them. We have a supply of MRE's when the food supply runs short.
Rumors run rampant and not everything is accurate. We have no TV, radio or news so far. Everyone is hoping to get some sort of TV for the election coverage.
Will give another update in a day or so.
Byron and Beatriz
For local, up-to-the-minute coverage of Hurricane Sandy, visit www.patch.com for affiliate sites on the east coast.
To make a donation and help support American Red Cross Disaster Relief, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross Chapters.
For more information on how you can help, visit