One year later, Hurricane Sandy Red Cross volunteers reflect on their experience

Photo provided by staff.
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POSTED: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 4:30pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 10:07am

One year ago, Hurricane Sandy ripped through parts of Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey and left many people homeless. Louisiana volunteers answered their calls to help them rebuild, restore, and recover from the storm.

It’s hard for almost anyone to look back at the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy one year ago but especially difficult for Norman Soren.

"I can’t believe it. It’s crazy because I didn't even realize until I hear it on the news this morning."

Last year he told NBC33 he told he couldn't wait to return the favor to those in need up north.

“It’s like something you see out of a movie that’s pretty bad, yeah we got to go.”

Now looking back he says, those five weeks he spent there was an experience he wouldn't trade for the world.

“It was tough and it was really hard but it was rewarding to know we did good and helped those people out."

Here at home, Red Cross CEO, Kay Wilkins, remembers it too. Louisiana was still recovering from Isaac when duty called yet again.

“We had just literally taken a chance to take a deep breathe and look at the season."

Over 80 volunteers, including Soren, packed up and headed out to the east coast. It's just another reminder of the role the Red Cross plays and how important it is to recovery.

"The heart of the American people cannot be measured it’s so big."

“It was amazing seeing people from all over the country and the world respond to that it was awesome."

A hurricane was something northerners didn't exactly know how to deal with, so our volunteers were in high demand.

“Immediately people felt safer,” noted Wilkins. “After it all people were looking to our volunteers in south Louisiana to figure out how to muck out a house and how to get back on their feet."

So not only did they learn ways to clean up and rebuild, Wilkins hopes they walked away with much more.
“Let me tell you I bet they understand how to make a good gumbo how to make a good jambalaya."

The states along the east coast are still rebuilding, and likely will be for some time. We know what that's like, as many here are still recovering from Katrina.

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