West Texas Volunteers Gearing Up to Help with Alex

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

Tropical Storm Alex is making big headlines and two West Texas volunteers are heading to the coast to help out when he strikes, but they're not alone.

On Tuesday, many more volunteers are on standby, ready to help in a moments notice.

There was Katrina, Ike and Rita. Now it's Tropical Storm Alex's time in the spotlight. Volunteers at the local Red Cross and Salvation Army are prepared to help when the storm strikes.

"We got called out at about 6:30 this (Tuesday) morning and should be going out by about 7:00 Tuesday night, and they should be put to work as soon as they get there," Allen Tyler with the American Red Cross, said. "In the future, we'll be looking at getting our task force down there if they get called out. It just depends what the storm does and how much damage it's done."

"Generally, once the hurricane hits and starts coming through, they'll deploy us," Capt. Russ Kenney with the Salvation Army, said. "We'll be at a staging area probably for two days so as soon as we can get into the areas that have been hit, we can respond."

Captain Keeney says they have 35 canteens on standby statewide. Keeney says the two they have in Midland and Odessa are ready to go.

"I can be on the road within 30 minutes after receiving the call because my canteen is fully stocked," Keeney said. "(The travel time) is dependant on where I'm needed."

Both groups will provide water, food, supplies and much more.

Forecasters don't think Alex will be as bad as his headline predecessors, and volunteers say it doesn't matter how big he gets.

"Tropical storms are big on floods," Allen said. "So, we're just there for whatever anybody needs and that's the biggest thing that we want to say. We're not there to take over, we're just there to help. That's it."

"It's a ministry and it's part of what I do and what I enjoy doing," Keeney said. "A lot of times people just need someone to hold their hand, listen to them and pray with them and that's what we're there for."