A City of Cornwall employee and Red Cross volunteer has travelled to New York City to assist with the massive relief effort for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Don Daugherty, a case manager in the Social Services Department, is among a group of 40 Canadian Red Cross volunteers who are working alongside thousands of other Red Cross workers from the U.S. and other countries.
Daugherty is serving as an emergency trainer in which he provides daily orientation sessions on the status of the storm relief efforts to volunteers serving in areas affected by the storm.
Hurricane Sandy struck the United States in late October, devastating portions of the Northeastern U.S. Tens of thousands of residents remain out of their homes or without power. Damage estimates are in the range of $50 billion US.
For Daugherty, the magnitude of the situation hit home early on in his deployment when he visited Rockaway Point, an area that stood directly in Sandy's path.
"I couldn't even believe the damage that I was seeing," he said. "It's like your brain refuses to process the damage you’re seeing. It’s unbelievable."
Daugherty said the Sandy relief effort is the largest one he's been involved with during his 10-plus years of work with the Red Cross.
"It has been a huge response with fantastic cooperation between all agencies and community partners," he added.
Daugherty had the necessary training and experience which allowed him to respond quickly when the call for volunteers was issued. His three week deployment wraps up on Nov. 30.
"It's great that we are able to assist our U.S. neighbours and support our employee through this form of mutual aid between the Canadian and American Red Cross Societies," said Debora Daigle, Manager of Social and Housing Services. "Mr. Daugherty also serves as the alternate Community Emergency Management Coordinator for the City, so this real-life experience will assist us with our own emergency planning efforts."
For Daugherty, responding to emergencies is nothing new. This past summer, he spent two weeks in Thunder Bay assisting with relief efforts following extensive flooding in the Northern Ontario community.
"I just like to help people," he said. "My parents always said 'If you can help, help.'"