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A Brunswick County man has traveled west to help with the ongoing response to the disastrous flooding in parts of central and northeastern Colorado that began last week.
Chuck Thurlow, former chairman of the Cape Fear Chapter of the American Red Cross Board of Directors, has been working as a disaster volunteer since completing his term on the board in 2011.
“When you’re raising children and working, it’s hard to find time to volunteer,” Thurlow said. “When I retired, I wanted to give back. I chose the Red Cross as the way I would give back to the community.”
Thurlow, who is also a former mayor of Belville, has worked as a Red Cross volunteer for 10 years. He moved to the Brunswick County area in 2003.
Thurlow specializes in disaster logistics and mass care but is also trained in government relations. In Colorado, he will work as a government liaison.
“In this case, (the Red Cross) was looking for someone with experience in interface with the government,” he said. “That’s an area I’ve been trained in, so they called and asked me if I wanted to join the effort. Of course I said ‘yes.’”
The American Red Cross is supporting rescue operations in Colorado by providing food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort to thousands of people forced from their homes by the flash flooding. As of Sunday, Sept. 15, more than 1,000 people were staying in 24 shelters across Colorado, according to the Red Cross.
Thurlow will join more than 250 trained Red Cross disaster workers who have been deployed to Colorado already. He said his assignment is likely to last two weeks, but he may be asked to stay for a third week.
The Red Cross is also responsible for sending more than 20 emergency response vehicles and six trucks of relief supplies to the area.
As many as 18,000 homes have affected by the flooding, government officials said. Floodwaters cut many people off from major roads and knocked out utilities. President Obama has declared it a major disaster.
Officials said hundreds of people, particularly in isolated areas among the mountains and foothills, remained unaccounted for at press time.
Sam Hickman is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.