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American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois CEO Deployed to North Carolina After Hurricane Florence

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American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois CEO Deployed to North Carolina After Hurricane Florence

American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois CEO Deployed to North Carolina After Hurricane Florence
Chicago & Northern Illinois Red Cross CEO Celena Roldán deployed to Puerto Rico in October of 2017 to assist with the Latino Outreach Initiative, community partnerships, and distribution of water purification kits.

The chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois, Celena Roldán, is currently deployed to North Carolina to support relief and recovery efforts for Hurricane Florence. For this deployment, her main focus will be to lead the Latino Outreach Initiative, a program she initially helped set up after the Louisiana floods and Hurricane Harvey. Roldán is working closely with vulnerable populations needing financial assistance and outreach.

Roldán is joining the thousands of other Red Crossers made up of volunteers and staff members who have been working around the clock to do all they can to support the victims of Hurricane Florence, and now the American Red Cross is preparing for its second large-scale hurricane relief effort in less than a month for Hurricane Michael. As this storm comes ashore along the Gulf Coast, the Red Cross is focusing on providing safe shelter for evacuees across three states while also continuing to support victims of Hurricane Florence. Several volunteers from the Chicago area are already on the ground in Florida with more planning to go in the days ahead.

More than three weeks after Hurricane Florence blasted into the Carolinas, the nightmare for residents continues. Hundreds of people are still in shelters, while tens of thousands undertake the massive job of cleaning out their homes. The American Red Cross has been there since before the storm’s onslaught began and will be there in the weeks to come to help people get back on their feet.

“I’m going right into some of the most vulnerable communities to help them understand all the compassion of the Red Cross and the resources we will be able to provide,” says Roldán. “We have teams dedicated to connecting with the under-served and letting them know the Red Cross is a safe, non-governmental organization.”

Homes are surrounded and inundated with rain and flood waters during Hurricane Florence (Red Cross)
Homes are surrounded and inundated with rain and flood waters during Hurricane Florence after rivers, streams and swamps overflow along the Cape Fear River Basin more than 70 miles up-river from the ocean outlets. (Photo by Daniel Cima/American Red Cross.)

Roldán says the organization is grateful for all the support local organizations have also provided for the Red Cross as they began deploying workers to the disaster area including local media. ABC-7 Chicago aired a “Day of Giving” in the days immediately following the storm’s landfall and raised over $1 million. CBS-2 Chicago hosted the CBS Chicago Cares Telethon in partnership with the Red Cross and also raised over $1 million.

The Chicago Tribune spoke with local volunteers as they were making the trek to the Carolina’s from Chicago in an Emergency Response vehicle including Terry Nosal of Lemont and Tim Zeller of Gurnee, and many local volunteers have deployed since the storm hit land.

This will be Roldán’s fourth deployment since taking the reins of the Chicago & Northern Illinois region of the American Red Cross in March of 2016. Her past deployments include the Louisiana Floods, Hurricane Harvey, and Hurricane Maria. Roldán was part of the first team to form the Latino Outreach Initiative during Hurricane Harvey when a need was identified to get better connected to Latino communities affected by disasters.

Hurricane Florence: Red Cross Shelter
Juruan, age 8, and Red Crosser Monica Cryan design a new handshake after sinking a shot on the basketball court. Juruan and his family evacuated from Nichols, South Carolina to the Red Cross managed shelter in Mullins, South Carolina. (Photo by Michael G. Seamans/American Red Cross.)


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