Behind the scenes: One Canadian Red Cross volunteer’s experience in North Carolina

On disaster responses, there are many different jobs that make the operation possible. In addition to volunteers and staff working face-to-face with those affected, there are also numerous behind-the-scenes responders who help keep the operation running smoothly.

Canadian Red Cross volunteer David Rennie of Halifax, Nova Scotia is one such volunteer. Dave has been a volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross for eight years and has responded to disasters across Canada, including flooding in Calgary and Ontario, wildfires in Saskatchewan, Fort McMurray and British Columbia, and an ice storm in New Brunswick.

Canadian Red Cross volunteer Dave Rennie helping out in North CarolinaDave is currently in Goldsboro, North Carolina, assisting the American Red Cross with the Hurricane Florence response as a transportation volunteer. The transportation team is responsible for getting personnel and supplies on the response where they need to be. There are currently more than 3,500 Red Cross staff and volunteers responding to Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas so, as you can imagine, this is a huge undertaking.

The transportation team sets up staff and volunteers with rental cars, organizes where trucks need to be and when, assigns personnel to emergency-response vehicles and deals with any other transportation needs or issues. Dave works with a team of about 50 people who coordinate all of this behind the scenes. “We’ve got a good team down here,” he says. “It always amazes me how you can throw bunch of strangers together [on a response] and they can be a functioning team. I love the camaraderie.”

This isn’t Dave’s first time working with the American Red Cross in North Carolina either. In 2016, he travelled here to respond to Hurricane Matthew. He’s based in the same city this time around – Goldsboro – and has run into some of the same Red Cross volunteers and staff he worked with last time, which everyone enjoyed.

Dave is spending two weeks in North Carolina and will then return to Halifax. A response like Hurricane Florence, or any disaster response, wouldn’t possible without volunteers like Dave. Whether working directly with those affected by disasters or keeping things moving behind the scenes, volunteers make it possible for the Red Cross to provide help to those who need it the most.

The Canadian Red Cross is currently accepting donations for the Hurricane Florence appeal.

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