Red Cross volunteer on 8th disaster relief deployment

Updated: Sep. 5, 2019 at 11:02 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC. (WWNY) - Three years ago, Valerie Juby was watching hurricane coverage on television.

Now, she's a veteran of helping people recover from disasters and soon she'll be helping people in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

“I was home watching Hurricane Matthew on TV and I thought ‘well, gee, I’d like to do something like that to help people,’ so they had training in Utica and I went down," she said. "It’ll be three years in October.”

The Martinsburg resident completed the one-day training and was deployed two days later.

The Red Cross volunteer was on her way Thursday morning to her eighth disaster deployment, this one in Columbia, South Carolina.

Juby is one of four north country Red Cross volunteers who have traveled to Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina to help with disaster relief.

"What I do is, I assess the damage," she said in a telephone interview.

"Assistance is based on the damage to the house that can get help," she said. "There are different organizations that will help them."

Juby expects about two weeks of 12-hour days while she’s deployed. At night she sleeps on a cot just feet from other volunteers, typically in shelters that house about 200 workers.

She says the work is both challenging and rewarding.

"It's heartbreaking when you see some of the damage, but it's also very rewarding when you know you can help these people."

Every deployment, she said, is different.

“You never know what to expect,” she said.

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