Canby resident volunteers and journeys to help victims of Hurricane Michael in Florida

Harvey Brown was quite excited to head to Florida on Oct. 30 to volunteer his help to the Red Cross to help the victims of Hurricane Michael. While he's retired, he likes to keep busy, so he volunteers to give back and also gives some of his time by reading to the students at one of the middle schools.

He's a jovial, happy person, and one that likes to help others. His excitement over getting to help was quite apparent.

HERALD PHOTO: CAROL ROSEN - Jovial, happy Harvey Brown is in Florida volunteering to help with the Red Cross for victims of Hurricane Michael.

"There are many ways to volunteer to the Red Cross," he says. "You can give blood and many other things to help others that need help. But in order to travel to cites, you have to be trained. When I got the training and they explained what I'd be doing, I decided to try. They need people, anyone who wants to help can go," Brown told the Herald.

For example, the Red Cross suggests people interested in volunteering research charities before they determine what they want to accomplish. Volunteers can stuff envelopes, feed animals, tutor children, build homes, become a museum docent, counsel people in crisis, sell tickets or answer phones.

These statistics from 2015 show that Americans are volunteers. That year 62.6 million Americans volunteered for a total of 7.9 billion hours of service representing an estimated value of $184 billion, according to the Red Cross.

Once a person has decided where he or she wants to work, the Red Cross suggests looking at and deciding how much time and what talents you can offer. Then it's time to make a commitment.

That's when Brown began to look into donating his time to the Red Cross. Before people can go somewhere to help, they take mandatory training and learn about what is entailed in shelter management, transportation, living conditions and the other various methods these hurricane victims need help. After he qualified to go, Brown said, no one knows what they will be doing until they get there.

Before he left, Brown was asked to list what he wanted to do. Brown's main choice was serving food and that could be in one of three places: in a shelter for hurricane victims; in a volunteer shelter; or from a food truck.

He hopes to stay longer than the two weeks he's planning on. With any luck, he said, he'd be there three to four weeks, otherwise he'll be back on Nov. 13.

"Everyone is asked to commit to two weeks. I want to stay for more than that, but I don't know if that's going to be possible. Let's see how I feel after a week. Its long hours and hard work, but I'm glad I have the opportunity."

The Red Cross helps these volunteers by covering their transportation, stipends for meals and anything else that might happen to and from the volunteer location.

Brown suggests that the Red Cross needs people with the time and ability to help. "Anyone who can help, should help," he says.

Carol Rosen
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