Mainers Helping Storm Victims 

As now Tropical Storm Issac hits the Gulf Coast, officials with the American Red Cross are asking volunteers from all over the country to deploy to the area. Mainers are answering the call. Romeo Bouchard made the three hour drive from Caribou to Bangor. He still has more than a days worth of driving left to do.” We’re heading to Hattiesburg, Mississippi,” said Bouchard with a smile. The long drive doesn’t matter to him. ” I like helping people,” said Bouchard. He’s a volunteer with the American Red Cross. ” I’ve been doing this since 1995,” he said proudly. Bouchard is taking Maine’s third Emergency Response Vehicle to the Gulf Coast to help people dealing with Tropical Storm Issac. ” There’s so many people that need the help down there and stuff. They’re displaced. They’re in shelters, and they don’t have power, so we go around and feed them,” explained Bouchard. There are three American Red Cross chapters in Maine, made up of lots of volunteers. ” People want to help people and that’s why we have so much success as an organization to be able to recruit volunteers to help their fellow neighbors,” said Todd Nadeau, executive director of the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross. Volunteers provide shelter, food and mental health help to people impacted by disasters. ” We have people who are Red Crossers who have been volunteers for 30, 40 and event 50 years,” said Nadeau. For Bouchard, he never thinks twice about helping. ” I’m doing this from the goodness of my heart. I’m away from my family, I’m away from my job, and I just donate my time and go and do this,” said Bouchard. He’ll be in Mississippi feeding people two meals a day. ” We get to know them, we get to find out what their stories are, what their need are,” said Bouchard. He’ll be in Mississippi for at least 15 days. ” I bring home a good feeling of being able to help them,” said Bouchard. So even though it’s a long ride from Bangor to Mississippi, Bouchard knows what he’s doing will make the road to recovery a bit easier. If you would like more information on volunteering with the American Red Cross, click here. If you’d like to help the efforts in the Gulf Coast, you can text a $10 donation to 90999.