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‘It’s so rewarding’: Orlando Red Cross volunteer heads to assist Kentucky tornado recovery

ORLANDO, Fla. — As communities across four states assess the damage of the devastating tornadoes, American Red Cross is preparing to support relief efforts.

Volunteers from the American Red Cross of Greater Orlando Chapter have been deployed to help communities affected by the tornado.

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Read: Kentucky tornadoes: 8 confirmed dead at candle factory, 6 still missing

Volunteer Rene Leins departed for Kentucky on Monday afternoon. Leins said she will be working in food service when she arrives, helping to make sure those people staying in shelters and remote areas have access to food and water.

“I’ve never quite seen anything like this before, but I know it will be so rewarding to feel like I’ve helped in some small way these people try to recover from this disaster,” Leins said.

READ: Kentucky tornadoes: How you can help

Leins will spend at least two weeks in Kentucky, possibly longer depending on the need.

All deployed volunteers have completed advanced health screenings and are familiar with COVID-19 operating protocols.

In western Kentucky, one of the hardest places hit by Friday’s tornadoes, dozens of people are feared dead and hundreds have been injured.

Read: Illinois tornado: Death toll stands at 6 at Amazon facility, rest of workers accounted for

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said that the state has been granted federal state of emergency status and a long-term disaster declaration is expected to be approved soon to help the victims.

Steve Cunanan, with the Kentucky Red Cross, said help can’t arrive soon enough.

Administrator Deanne Criswell is on the ground in Kentucky to provide full support to state and local officials in...

Posted by FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency on Sunday, December 12, 2021

“I’ve seen firsthand that there has been so much devastation. People lost loved ones, their homes, everything is just gone for them. We’re moving as quickly as we can to get much-needed disaster relief and blood products to area hospitals in these communities that are unrecognizable now.” Cunanan said.

For more information on how you can help or to become a Red Cross volunteer, click here.

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Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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