Upstate volunteers and rescue crews head to the coast ahead of Hurricane Florence


The mandatory evacuation of the lowcountry is happening now.  Lane reversals are in place on some major highways leading away from the coast.

With all the people headed here we certainly can’t forget the people from our area heading to the coast, first responders and volunteers driving into the storm to help protect others.

Dori Baumwart, a trained red cross volunteer sees it as her way tap into humanity. 

“I have an incredible opportunity to be able to help a lot of people, and they’re going to have a hard time,” said Baumwart.

She has helped hurricane victims in Houston and Puerto Rico, and for the next two weeks she’ll be caring for coastal residents who need shelter.

“It’s always a challenge in how to overcome those problems.  Every disaster is different.  They have their own lives,” said Baumwart.

She is one of two dozen Greenville area red cross volunteers to deploy to the coast this week.

John Ligon, head of regional deployment at the Red Cross, says they’ll be setting up shelters and keeping them operational.

“These are people with large warm hearts who are willing to put their life on hold to go take care of strangers and I’ve never met a finer group of people,” said Ligon.
If there were one group on par, it would be the first responders who put their lives at risk.

“Our county received a tasking request for a FEMA type 2 water rescue boat team and we’re sending 3 people from Boiling Springs and the other departments around the county are contributing personal and equiptment as well,” said Steve Graham, the Fire Chief of the Boiling Springs Fire District in Greenville.

In all, 20 swift water rescue technitians from the Greenville area left today, knowing with a storm that’s predicted to have more wind that Hugo and more rain than Matthew, it’s not if their help will be needed, but when.

A job yes, but whether their paid or not, has never been at issue for people like this.  They go, because it’s where they know, deep down, it’s exactly where they are meant to be.

This is the kind of richness that comes from way deep down in your heart and it says you got it right, it says you did the right thing,” said Baumwart.

Not all of us are trained or able to head into a hurricane zone but many are helping in other ways.   Online posts show a lot of Upstate families are opening their doors to friends from the coast.  And one of the most helpful ways to support the efforts is to donate to organizations like the American Red Cross.  

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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