Local woman volunteers to help recovery efforts after Hurricane Idalia
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Thousands in Florida are in full recovery mode after Hurricane Idalia hit Wednesday. and many are rushing in to help.
One New Mexico volunteer joined those efforts, and isn’t planning on leaving any time soon.
“It’s just out of sight out of mind so until you are here you don’t realize what these people go through and what it’s like to literally lose everything,” said Amy Stephenson, a Red Cross volunteer.
Years later, the New Mexico resident finds herself in Florida, helping them through Hurricane Idalia.
Stephenson got there a day before the hurricane hit the coast, gathering supplies and helping other volunteers set up evacuation shelters.
“From the evening until late the next day they put what they call a ‘ground stop’ on us, meaning that for safety purposes we are not to move anywhere. So all of us were just stagnant until 3 p.m. the day of the storm,” said Stephenson.
After the storm hit she rolled up her sleeves and was assigned to disaster relief, surveying thousands of homes in the areas that were hit the hardest.
“There wasn’t a lot functioning in Perry, there were storage units that had been flipped over, big signs that had been destroyed. The trees in Florida are massive, so those have fallen on homes and businesses and such,” Stephenson said.
Once they gained access to other areas that were hit, they packed up and headed south to Cedar Key.
“If you are aware of the storm, it kind’ve came in east and went up into Georgia. So what they have done is divide that up into several different zones, I think between four and seven zones, and each team is assigned a different zone to assess the damage of the homes,” said Stephenson.
Stephenson is on a 14-day assignment, after that she can decide if she wants to extend her trip.
“From what I heard it’s going to be quite a bit of work, so if I can extend I definitely will,” said Stephenson.