UNCATEGORIZED

Red Cross CEO from Utah will deploy to Florida where she worked before

Sep 30, 2022, 7:04 PM

MURRAY, Utah — Red Cross volunteers from Utah are already helping in Florida, and more are on their way. The regional Red Cross CEO, based in Salt Lake City, will head there Saturday, and she already knows the area which suffered the most severe damage.

“Right now, it’s still a life-saving operation. It’s still sheltering and feeding,” said Heidi Ruster, regional CEO for the Utah/Nevada Red Cross.

Ruster held that same position for eight years in the Fort Myers area before coming here, and had responsibilities in five Florida counties. On Saturday, she will deploy to that area, eager to help, but with mixed emotions.

“I’m excited, but I’m also apprehensive just to see the damage,” she said.

Ruster typically deploys a couple times a year in support of other Red Cross leaders. Last year, she deployed to California to assist on one of the largest wildfires. Recovery in Florida is just getting started.

“It’s a dynamic situation,” she said. “That’s how disaster response is, so we play it day by day. But I know my job is to collaborate, strengthen relationships, and make sure we are fulfilling the gaps and the needs of the community.”

Her prior relationships in Fort Myers and the surrounding area make her an especially valuable team member. But she also knows the destruction will be difficult to witness.

“It was my home for eight years, and my kids all graduated high school there. So personally, it’s a little gut-wrenching,” she said.

Bonnie and Dave Kenison, Red Cross volunteers from Orem, were working at an evacuation shelter in an elementary school in Crescent City, Florida, when the hurricane blew through.

“We’re just happy to be here and help where we can,” Bonnie said in a video call. “For us, it was a little windy and a lot of hard rain, and the power went on and off several times.”

Dave went out in the middle of the night during the storm to get some supplies from a trailer.

“The wind was blowing pretty hard at that point,” he said. “They were estimating only 40 to 50 mph that reached in our area, so not near hurricane force.”

The Kenisons have now moved on to a long-term shelter in Sebring where they will support evacuees and the National Guard, which has arrived. While they were making the transition, they drove through the Orlando area.

“We saw a lot of the issues that have been caused by the flooding there,” Dave said. “Still lots of power out, lots of stoplights not working through that whole area.”

But the sun was out Friday, and the people in that part of central Florida dodged the worst of Ian.

“I think the people are feeling pretty good here. They feared that it was going to be much worse,” he said.

Generous financial donations are the best way Utahns can help. Ruster said that’s what provides the Red Cross the necessary resources. It’s easy to give at redcross.org.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Uncategorized

(Derek Petersen/KSL TV)...
Casey Scott, KSL TV

Casey Scott surprises Utah drivers with free gas cards

Gas prices in Utah have dropped around $0.30 over the last month, but Utahns are still paying over $4.15/gallon on average.
2 months ago
(Derek Petersen/KSL TV)...
Casey Scott, KSL TV

Casey Scott previews this year’s FanX Pop Culture & Comic Convention

It's a big day for all fandoms here in the Beehive State as FanX kicked off!
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Red Cross CEO from Utah will deploy to Florida where she worked before