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Some Virginia Red Cross volunteers return from deployment to Florida

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – The Virginia Red Cross sent dozens of volunteers to Florida and most of them stayed for 2 weeks. These volunteers are just beginning to return home. Ed and Renee Miller were among the first wave of volunteers to leave Virginia to help those affected by the storm. The couple shared stories of volunteering in Florida where they sometimes spent 12 hours a day trying to help storm victims.

“Children’s faces. They no longer had their house to live in, they were looking for things, looking for their toys in the rubble, that sort of thing. It’s kind of hard to watch,” Ed explained.

The couple have been tasked with helping to feed families in devastated communities. They spent hours making sure the victims, many of whom had no electricity or homes, had a hot meal to eat.

“There is a microphone and if we drive through neighborhoods we announce our presence and it’s a bit like the ice cream parlor, we serve hot meals and water and we did 2 shifts a day in the kitchen we were based from served 18,000 meals a day,” Renee said.

Ed and Renee fully understood the urgency for the Red Cross to send volunteers to Florida. They delayed celebrating their wedding anniversary to join relief efforts.

“It means a lot to me that we’re both on a mission and they’re trying to keep the husband and wife teams together, the Red Cross sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. This time we were on different supply vehicles, we would still be working long days, but we knew at the end of the day we would meet again,” Ed said.

This deployment was not the first for the couple. They hope their time in Florida has had an impact on those who have lost so much.

“I think globally we are just neighbors helping neighbors and we can definitely give 2 weeks and it will probably take a long time before their lives are restored to how they were before this hurricane hit,” Renee declared.

The Virginia Red Cross has sent a total of 27 volunteers to Florida since the operation began.