Red Cross volunteers Michael Puryear (left) and Louie Crowe prep Tuesday for the trip to Oklahoma.
Louie Crowe checks supplies Tuesday for the trip to Oklahoma.
The local Red Cross volunteers head out of Chattanooga to Oklahoma, with Channel 3 following.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
Channel 3 Eyewitness News has a news crew embedded with the local response Red Cross response team on its way to report from the devastation in Oklahoma. Channel 3 Eyewitness News Anchor Antwan Harris and Photojournalist Ramsay Fulbright are traveling behind the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle for the 13-hour trip to Oklahoma. Live reports from the journey begin Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.
The Tennessee Valley has had its share of experience with tornadoes in the past few years, and knows all too well the challenges faced by the victims and those lending aid and comfort.
Forty year-old Red Cross emergency relief vehicle driver Michael Puryear has been through the tornado relief efforts before, having volunteered during the 2011 tornadoes in the Tennessee Valley and Joplin, MO; as well as the March 2012 tornadoes that struck our area. He was also was involved with Hurricane Sandy rescue and relief in the northeast in late 2012.
Puryear was awarded the 2012 Hometown Hero Award in the Volunteer category by the Red Cross for his unselfish efforts and bravery.
Speaking about his efforts in early January, 2013, during the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, Puryear said he had been home only one week since he was deployed to the Northeast on Oct. 27.
"I've never missed Christmas or Thanksgiving with my family," said Puryear, who owns a business in Chattanooga.
"New Year's Day was my mom's birthday. I have a very solid core group of family and friends who understand what we're doing here. They understand the job at hand."
Puryear is a driver, who drops off food and serves hot meals to displaced victims during recovery efforts. Another volunteer, Louie Crowe from Knoxville, has also been dispatched.
The Red Cross will join with other relief agencies headed to Moore, OK to help the victims and rescue workers as they begin the daunting task of sifting through the debris.
Channel 3 will bring you the latest reports on the local effort that has been deployed to Oklahoma. Follow WRCB's reports on Twitter with #WRCBinOK.
You can also follow the reports with our radio partners at US-101 and our Times Free Press newspaper partners.
How You Can Help
You can help the Salvation Army's response by donating online (https://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/) or you can text STORM to 80888 to contribute $10. You can also call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.