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VALLEY FOCUS | Valleywide

Volunteers Help With Hurricane Relief

October 02, 1998|MICHAEL BAKER

As part of a disaster-relief team, four San Fernando Valley and two Ventura County residents landed this week in devastated areas suffering the aftereffects of Hurricane Georges.

After a short stay at a staging area in Atlanta, the American Red Cross volunteers were dispatched to either Puerto Rico, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana or Mississippi, said Mike Powers, a spokesman for the Red Cross.

Georges has battered areas from the Caribbean to the Gulf of Mexico, killing at least 300, since it first hit land last week.

"Most of our people have gone to Puerto Rico or Miami, since those are the two U.S. areas hit the hardest," said Powers of the American volunteers, explaining that international Red Cross volunteers are serving in hard-hit places such as Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The volunteers include:

* Jay Brara of Northridge, one of two Metropolitan Water District workers sent stateside to perform damage assessment calculations.

* Retired USC psychology professor, Frank Chew of Canoga Park, who is in Puerto Rico counseling victims as a licensed Red Cross Disaster mental health volunteer.

* Lyssa Kerridwynn of Sylmar, also in Puerto Rico providing family service assistance by meeting with individuals and families to assess their needs and issue vouchers for food, clothing, medication, furniture and basic household appliances.

* Simona Kreitzman of Calabasas, who left Wednesday and will be assigned to a squad dealing with feeding and sheltering those left homeless.

* Red Cross veteran John Stroud of Thousand Oaks, who is serving as a liaison between the disaster-relief organization and various government entities.

* Ventura resident Mike Goth, who is helping to oversee various shelter and feeding operations.

Because of the large size of the project--with more than 3,400 volunteers, 2,900 in Puerto Rico alone--it's hard to track down exactly where everybody was sent, Powers said.

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