At least nine people are dead from floods that swamped central and southern Texas.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Tim Settles has participated in more than 30 disaster relief efforts across the country, and he'll soon aid another one.
Settles, director of emergency services at the Trumbull County Chapter of the American Red Cross, was to leave today for Texas to help flooding victims.
Flooding that started last week in central and southern Texas has left at least nine people dead, and entire towns have been washed out.
Settles, who has worked at the Trumbull chapter for three years and with the Red Cross for 15 years, likely will be in charge of one of the service centers established by the organization.
"It's an opportunity to go out and help people," Settles said. "I'd probably say what's most rewarding is the work we do in our own community. It's the home community, so it's especially satisfying to do something in our hometown."
Settles will stay in Texas for three weeks.
"With all of the disasters around the country, they're short of administrative people," he said.
The director has participated in 30 disaster relief efforts, and he names the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing as the most difficult.
He said the magnitude of the event didn't affect him while he was at the bombing scene.
"When you're there, you just do what you need to do, and then when I got back, it hit me, 'What did I just participate in?'" Settles said. "It was especially difficult because of all of the children."
Operationally, Red Cross disaster relief efforts are the same whether it's a natural or a manmade disaster.
"The mentality of it is what's different," he said.
Another volunteer from the Trumbull agency, Baron Vance of Lordstown, left last week to aid in the flood disaster effort. Canton's chapter needed a driver for one of its emergency response vehicles, and Vance stepped up, Settles said.
"He'll be helping with the feeding and other things," he said. "He's relatively new. He just came on board right after Sept. 11."
A three-week commitment prevents some volunteers from participating in relief efforts outside of the area.
"Those people concentrate their volunteer efforts here, where we have 70-some fires a year," Settles said.