Red Cross volunteer reflects on Alabama experience - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Red Cross volunteer reflects on Alabama experience

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

About three weeks ago we told you about a women in the Tri-states who left to volunteer in Alabama after the devastating tornado. Last Wednesday she returned home. Tuesday we talked with her about her experience and how difficult it is to see disaster strike again in Joplin.

"Hey we're getting ready to go to the airport right now," Red Cross Volunteer Tracy Birch said as she filmed her departure three weeks ago. "It's early, our next step is to the Cedar Rapids airport.

But that's the last time she documented the trip. The Red Cross asked her not to shoot video.

"It was a lot of devastation, obviously everything was gone," Birch said.

Instead, she told us her story. After two weeks volunteering in the devastation of Alabama.

"It was pretty emotional a lot of the days because a lot of the time the clients, really all they wanted to do was talk to you and tell you their stories," Birch said.

She heard stories from neighbors, survivors and life long community members.

"A man had lost his wife, so just listening to him tell his story. Or a neighbor talking about her neighbor that had been hurt," Birch said.

Birch says she's grateful for the opportunity to volunteer but when she returned home last week, she never imagined disaster would strike again, when a tornado hit Joplin, Missouri Sunday night.

"I just felt like I was looking at Alabama all over again," Birch said.

Now she hopes her trip to Alabama will inspire others to help in Missouri.

"It's very fulfilling. It's hard when you're on the national assignments but it's worth it to be able to help people," Birch said.

Birch has been volunteering for the Red Cross for two years. Last summer she traveled to Nashville to help with flood relief. She says if you can't volunteer your time, you can still help by donating money or items to those effected by a disaster.

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