COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Dealing with the aftermath of Ida, Ohioans are headed south to help following the hurricane which devastated much of Louisiana.
Toby Hovi has been volunteering for disaster relief for the last four and a half years.
He’s making the long drive Wednesday after picking up one more volunteer here in central Ohio.
Hovi, who’s from Zanesville, spent Tuesday afternoon preparing his emergency response vehicle for the trip. He’s headed south to volunteer in Louisiana to help recovery from Hurricane Ida.
“I can’t imagine having to go through it,” Hovi said. “Myself, personally, I don’t know if I could. After Katrina, I probably would have packed it up and gone, you know?”
Hovi has responded to about a dozen different disasters, helping people recover from loss like this across the US.
“Very emotional for them, very emotional,” he said. “I mean, how do you describe it? I turn around and can say that I leave the place feeling, ‘What has just gone on?’ I also turn around, ‘Man, I want to go back.’”
Michael Tyler is the Regional Communications Manager for Central and Southern Ohio for the American Red Cross. He said the organization could use more help.
“We’re able to make the call for the different disasters that are happening throughout the country, but we are kind of, you know, at our capacity, and this, where having people volunteer, is so critical,” Tyler said, adding the Red Cross has volunteers in several places already, including Tennessee and California, and that they’re spread a little thin.
As for Hovi’s mission, he said it’s a mystery until he gets there.
“I may help feed people, I may work in a shelter,” he said. “Again, the ERV — the emergency response vehicle — I’ll turn around and go door to door. ‘Do you need supplies? Do you need water? Do you need tarps? Do you need clean-up kits? ‘”
Hovi expects the drive to take about two days, then he and other volunteers will be put to work.