American Red Cross 2013 Hurricane Rally - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

American Red Cross 2013 Hurricane Rally

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(KYTX) - June 1st marked the beginning of hurricane season. The American Red Cross is prepared to handle any major storms that come our way, but it needs your help...

The annual Red Cross Hurricane Rally is this weekend in Tyler. If you've ever wanted to learn how to volunteer when natural disasters strike, now is your chance. You'll learn everything you need to know to pitch in during hurricane season.

"There's just so many opportunities here with the Red Cross and it's my passion." says Diana Cervantes.

She became a Red Cross volunteer after the devastation Hurricane Katrina left behind eight years ago.

"There was just such a need for healthcare services- not only for the nurses, but for the psychological, mental health. I mean, it was just overwhelming how much help they needed."

Cervantes put her hurricane training to work in mass care and sheltering services after the storm.

"It's just something that you'll never forget- the pictures in your mind."

Matt Brown with the Smith County Chapter of the American Red Cross says volunteers like Cervantes are vital during hurricane season.

"We are all team players and by no means can any one of us do it alone."

He says the hard work and selflessness of volunteers in disaster situations never ceases to amaze him.

"When I responded to the Granbury and Cleburn tornadoes, I worked for a volunteer who had been out on 170 national disasters in his volunteer career."

But, there are plenty of ways to volunteer locally as well.

"We don't force our volunteers to go anywhere. They get to sign up for it. And, many of them just want to hang out on the local level."

No matter how big or how small, all help is welcome and appreciated.

"I was sad at what I'd seen." says Cervantes. "But, at the same time I was so pleased that I had to education and knowledge to get in there and help them."

The Hurricane Rally is completely free. It's at the Shiloh Church of Christ in Tyler Saturday.

Registration starts at 8:30 A.M. There are classes and workshops all day from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Even if you don't want to become a volunteer, you can still stop by and sit in on the classes without registering.

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