COLUMBUS (WCMH) – To tackle the aftermath of Ida, Ohioans are heading south to help after the hurricane that devastated much of Louisiana.
Toby Hovi has been involved in disaster relief on a voluntary basis for four and a half years.
He’s making the long drive on Wednesday after picking up another volunteer here in central Ohio.
Hovi, who is from Zanesville, spent Tuesday afternoon preparing his ambulance for the trip. He heads south to volunteer in Louisiana to help recover from Hurricane Ida.
“I can’t see myself going through this,” said Hovi. “Personally, I don’t know if I could. After Katrina I would probably have packed it up and left, you know? “
Hovi has responded to around a dozen different disasters and helped people in the United States recover from such losses.
“Very emotional for her, very emotional,” he said. “I mean, how do you describe it? I turn around and can say that I’m leaving the place feeling: ‘What just happened?’ I also turn around: ‘Man, I want to go back.’ “
Michael Tyler is Regional Communications Manager for Central and South Ohio for the American Red Cross. He said the organization could use more help.
“We’re able to handle the various disasters that are happening across the country, but we’re kind of, you know, in our capacity, and this where volunteers are volunteering is so crucial,” Tyler said, adding Add to this the Red Cross already has volunteers in several places, including Tennessee and California, and that they are a little thinly spaced.
As for Hovi’s mission, he said it was a mystery until he got there.
“I can help feed people, I can work in an animal shelter,” he said. “Again the ERV – the ambulance – I’ll turn around and go from door to door. “Do you need supplies? Do you need water? Do you need planning? Do you need cleaning kits? ‘“
Hovi expects the trip to take around two days, after which he and other volunteers will be deployed.