Red Cross Volunteer

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

One Heartland man and Red Cross volunteer is hitting the road again to help the people in Fargo, North Dakota.

Jim Johnston has been hitting the road for the Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross for almost ten years now and tomorrow he starts on his 16th deployment.

For the second time in as many years Johnston is headed up to Fargo, North Dakota to help people there fight back the flood waters of the Red River.

It is something Jim is familiar with.

The pictures taken of the last Fargo flood tell the story; too much water and no place for it to go except for where it shouldn't be.

But this is where Jim Johnston is headed, to help with the effort to keep the river in check but if not in Fargo Jim would be somewhere, giving of himself to help others.

Jim Johnston says, "I've had a fairly descent life and at some point you have to give back and that is what I do I enjoy doing stuff like that and I'm retired and I've got the time and I'm in good enough health that I can keep doing it."

The director of the Heartland Chapter's disaster response says the Red Cross is always looking for more volunteers.

While the flood waters and their impact on everything in the way may be intimidating volunteers start of slow and work their way up to the big projects.

John Young says, "Every disaster begins locally and ends locally so you really get that experience first by helping locally and training them for the different positions."

Johnston agrees; the work is hard and can last for days but it is something that adds to his life.

Jim Johnston says, "This is not for everybody but if you like it you give it a try. I got hooked I did it in Katrina it was my first experience I was there for three weeks and I had a great time in a strange sort of way."

And will undoubtedly do it again whether it is in Fargo or right here in the Metro.

Johnston is part of a group of people to set up the relief effort.

The Red River is still inside the banks but with flow, and the rate of ice melt experts believe it could be a record setting flood season in the Fargo area.

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