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Mon, Sept. 23

Prescott volunteer heads to Florida for potential hurricane aid

Vic Hencken

Vic Hencken

PRESCOTT - Three volunteers from the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter are deploying to Orlando, with the possibility of providing relief for a tropical storm that could soon intensify into a hurricane in advance of an anticipated landfall in Florida early this week.

Highlighting the Red Cross message of preparing for a disaster before it strikes, Vic Hencken, 64, of Prescott, left Thursday as a job deputy director, while Regina Crandall, 48, of Maricopa, departed Friday and Larry Webb, 63, of Chandler, takes off Saturday, both as disaster assessment workers.

Hencken has volunteered for the Red Cross with his wife, Flo, for the past 11 years. He's certified as a shelter manager and as an emergency response vehicle driver, and he worked the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008. He also has been deployed by the Red Cross for other hurricanes and tropical storms, as well as for tornadoes, floods and wildfires.

Webb started with the Red Cross in 2009, and as a Disaster Action Team member stationed in the East Valley, he has logged more than 5,000 volunteer hours. It's the first national deployment for Crandall, a Pinal County DAT member who began volunteering for the Red Cross last August.

"We're going down early and not waiting for (the hurricane) to happen," Crandall said. "We're proactive, as opposed to reactive."

About 900 other Red Cross disaster workers are gathering in Florida, and the Red Cross is prepared to open dozens of shelters across the state. The Red Cross has 22 ERVs in Florida, it's moving 28 more into the state and another 112 vehicles are on standby. It has 30,000 pre-stocked meals in Florida, and it's mobilizing five truckloads of disaster supplies and cleanup items, like rakes, shovels and tarps, to send to Florida. Plus, Red Cross disaster warehouses in Georgia and Mississippi are ready to ship additional emergency supplies.

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