GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Wildfires tear through thousands of acres of land in Oregon, and thousands are being evacuated. Those horrifying scenes reminded Greg Rossell of 2002, when the Missionary Ridge fire broke out in Durango, where he lives.
“It takes a village, but it takes a big village during disasters like this,” says Rossell. Remembering the national help his town received is what inspired Rossell and his wife Anita Phillips to spring into action. The two are volunteers with the Red Cross.
“We realized the importance of community, and the larger community… Being the larger population of America, working together, because local resources quickly get overwhelmed,” says Rossell.
And they’re driving to Portland in the Red Cross’s Emergency Response Vehicle, known as the ERV to help support victims of the wildfires in any way they can. “I’ve done a lot of training with the red cross, and a few deployments starting with Katrina,” says Phillips.
The volunteers haven’t received a specific assignment yet, as far as the fire goes, but they speculate they’ll be in charge of feeding folks who have fled the flames. “That’s the thing with the Red Cross when you deploy you need to be ready for just whatever they need,” says Phillips.
And even if their assignment shifts, the two will be ready for whatever is thrown their way. “We just feel very fortunate to be able to do this and feel very appreciated by the people that we help, so it’s worth it,” says Rosell.