Women assist in Tenn. disaster

Tennessee recently saw a powerful weather system that caused severe flooding and rain totaling almost 1 foot.

In response to that situation, the American Red Cross Jersey Coast Chapter deployed two of its volunteers in response to the floods in the South.

Mary O’Donnell, a resident of Jackson, and Pam Slifer, a resident of Colts Neck, traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to bring their individual expertise to the disaster operation, according to a press release. The women only had 24 hours to respond to a request for assistance, pack, organize their personal lives and prepare themselves to be away from home for two weeks.

On vacation in Florida at the time, Jersey Coast Chapter disaster volunteer Mary O’Donnell received word about the deployment to Tennessee and was on a flight to Nashville shortly thereafter.

O’Donnell has supervised staff services in shelters and coordinated logistics of volunteer staffing based on each individual shelter’s needs. Nearly 1,000 people in Tennessee were evacuated from their homes in the wake of the storms and were living in shelters.

O’Donnell has previously represented the Jersey Coast Chapter by volunteering during Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Wilma, and the recent New Jersey floods.

A request for shelter nurses was sent out and Pam Slifer responded to the call and was on a flight to Nashville within two days. She has supervised health services in Red Cross shelters.

All nurses in Red Cross shelters must be certified RNs or LPNs with extensive training and experience. Slifer’s duties included staffing, maintaining health and sanitary standards, monitoring care for shelter residents, and ensuring that shelter residents who needed mental health services received the proper care.

Silfer is also a volunteer veteran when it comes to disaster response with her involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Hurricane Katrina, ice storms in southern New Jersey and the recent New Jersey floods.

According to the press release, both of these women encompass the American Red Cross humanitarian mission of providing relief to victims of disaster.

To find out how to support the Jersey Coast Chapter with donations to the disaster relief fund or by volunteering time, call 732-493-9100, ext. 1245.