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WARREN Volunteer 'will never forget' work in New York



Published: Tue, February 26, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Sept. 11 was also the woman's first day working at the Red Cross.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A Howland woman calls working with victims of the New York City terrorist attacks one of her most memorable experiences.

Christinia Paul, 20, spent three weeks working with the American Red Cross' outreach program. She returned Feb. 13.

"It's definitely something I will never forget," Paul said.

She went door-to-door in the area surrounding the World Trade Center site to see if residents' needs were being met.

Paul and roughly 300 other volunteers determined if residents' were eligible for the Liberty Fund, which was established for Sept. 11 victims.

Help offered: For people who lost friends, family or a job, The Red Cross provides financial help for rent or transportation. The volunteers also refer victims to counseling through the Red Cross's mental health personnel.

Paul visited four clients during each daily 10-hour shift.

"We'd go in and they would just start telling stories," she said. "For some, that's their comfort. They just want someone to talk to."

One man who lives near the site told Paul how he was coping with the tragedy.

"He could see the towers from his apartment," she said. "He's lived there for 30 years and one day the towers were there and the next day they weren't."

Constant reminders: Most of the people with whom she spoke are moving on with their lives bit by bit, but the constant reminders, like the excavation machines that run nonstop at the site, make it difficult.

"Here in Ohio we've moved on with our lives," she said, "but there, there are the daily reminders. There are memorials everywhere."

Paul's first day as emergency services specialist for the agency's Trumbull County chapter was Sept. 11. "Things were pretty hectic here," she said.

She saw the preparations for the first Trumbull County volunteers to go to New York shortly after the attacks.

"That's another reason I wanted to go out there and do my part," Paul said. "It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life."

She was surprised by the level of cooperation of all of the people who volunteered.

"This obviously was my first national assignment," Paul said. "It amazed me how there were so many people from across the United States and how well we worked together. It was just wonderful."

She returned from each day's work physically and emotionally drained, using the off time to decompress and reflect.

"But it makes you feel so good about yourself to be able to help people in need," she said. "I guess that's what the Red Cross is all about."

dick@vindy.com




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