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Arizona sends help to those devastated by Midwest tornadoes

Posted at 4:00 PM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-13 19:42:35-05

Help from across the country is pouring into the Midwest, and Arizona is no exception.

The American Red Cross is just one agency sending volunteers into areas hit hardest by the weekend storms.

Both the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army tell ABC15 the devastation they’ve seen is extensive, as is the need for help.

“It’s devastating. There are towns, literally just about flattened,” said Kurt Kroemer, the chief executive officer of Arizona and New Mexico region with the American Red Cross.

Kroemer describes the devastation volunteers have seen, across six states, as heartbreaking.

“Just picture your own town, your own neighborhood, and virtually every house is just destroyed,” he added.

Kroemer said the American Red Cross has already deployed at least 20 volunteers to tornado-ravaged areas and will likely triple this number in the coming weeks.

“And it goes on until all the needs are met,” Kroemer told ABC15.

Their immediate focus is around sheltering, feeding, providing disaster and mental health services to those in need.

“Arizona tends to send a lot of our volunteers, more than most other regions in The Red Cross,” Kroemer said.

Though they are not the only organization out there.

Major Ethan Frizzell with The Salvation Army says volunteers with this organization, who are closer to the devastated areas, are also providing relief and food.

“In Bowling Green, unfortunately, we saw cars that had been over houses. Houses that were gone. Floors that were gone. Too much loss of life for sure,” said Major Frizzell.

Currently, Salvation Army personnel are being drawn from eight states (Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida, and Texas) to serve in the tornado response.

Though, Frizzell said neighbors have stepped up to help one another.

As of Monday, the American Red Cross is continuing to deploy trained volunteers, but they say there’s still a need for blood donations.

“We sent, so far, over 200 units of blood over to that area. This is months of recovery, and the Red Cross will be there for an extended period of time until we get folks, you know, back up on their feet,” Kroemer told ABC15.

“We will get through this terrible event, and it will be together,” added Major Frizzell.

Click here for more information on how you can donate blood or give to the American Red Cross.

To help the Salvation Army continue to provide aid in the devastated regions, click here.