Kansans making efforts to help Floridians heavily impacted by Hurricane Ian

From tracking the storm to aiding in cleanup efforts, Kansans have shown up to help in the wake of the hurricane. They say their efforts are essential.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 9:34 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Hurricane Ian left thousands desperately seeking rescue from one of the most devastating storms in U.S. history. From tracking the storm to aiding in cleanup efforts, Kansans have shown up to help in the wake of the hurricane. They say their efforts are essential.

U.S. Air Force Captain Garrett Black, from Haven, was one of the first to witness the wrath of Hurricane Ian from above as part of a team of “hurricane hunters.”

“I’ve flown quite a few different hurricanes over the past five years and this is definitely a memorable one,” Black said.

He said the ride into Hurricane Ian was “very, very rough,” with severe turbulence. The crew also encountered a lot of hail and lightning.

Black’s services are essential to catching what radar might miss with tracking Ian’s path.

“On radar, it didn’t look particularly different than a lot of other hurricanes but we later found out the radar was struggling seeing different aspects of the storm,” Black said.

What Hurricane hunters couldn’t predict was the amount of damage Ian would cause.

On the ground, the American Red Cross is seeking volunteers from across the country to help with the recovery effort in Florida. Volunteers will help in shelters and act as an emergency crew, helping with to clean impacted areas.

“As our volunteers get here, we have a very good process. Everybody when they come in will be oriented on the job they’re going to be doing,” Red Cross Deputy Assistant Director of Response Rene Beezley said.

From Derby, volunteers Pat and Lori Loney left early Thursday morning to make the 20-hour trip to Florida. The couple is volunteering with the the Red Cross, prepared to make a difference in The Sunshine State, months after helping close to home in the recovery effort from the tornado that caused extensive damage in Andover and part of southeast Sedgwick County.

In response to Hurricane Ian, the Loneys will serve for at least two weeks on a crew in Orlando, serving food to people in shelters and impacted neighborhoods. For organizations like the American Red Cross, more hands means more help.

“Seeing the crews go out and all of our teams that we have on the ground, we know we’re gonna make a huge difference,” Beezley said.