Red Cross volunteer from Conway heads to Louisiana to help hurricane victims

Red Cross volunteer from Conway heads to Louisiana to help hurricane victims

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - The natural response to danger is to run away from it, but some people choose to run toward it instead.

That’s exactly what Gary Thurman chose to do. The Conway resident has been volunteering with the Red Cross for 15 years. He was sent to Louisiana Wednesday to help people who need shelter following the impacts from Hurricane Laura.

Thurman said things will be different because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve done a lot of intense training here in the last few months to deal with how we would deal with the COVID situation, so we’re having to consider health and safety, social distancing, using the mask, how much cleaning to do,” Thurman said.

He was stationed in Alexandria, La., as of Thursday morning at a Red Cross building for safety purposes. However, he and the volunteers were planning to move locations to a hotel or college dorm to house people in individual rooms, rather than in a large communal space.

Going into the line of danger is a step many would consider bold, but for Thurman, he simply sees it as another opportunity to help those who need it.

“The goal of the Red Cross here is to alleviate human suffering wherever it’s found,” Thurman said. “That’s probably just a clip from their mission statement, but that’s kind of what I’m wanting to do here. I’ve had quite a bit of training in my life, not just with the Red Cross, but elsewhere, and I have something that I can give here.”

Thurman has volunteered at several other disasters, but this is the first time he’s gone out of state for a hurricane.

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