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Lynchburg man helps out with Hurricane Zeta aftermath in Louisiana

Published: Nov. 6, 2020 at 6:08 AM EST
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A Lynchburg man says he never shies away from a storm. Peter Simmons has been in southeastern Louisiana for the last week, working as an American Red Cross volunteer to help with Hurricane Zeta aftermath. This Category 2 hurricane brought high winds, heavy rain and up to 10 feet of storm surge to some areas.

This is Simmons’ sixth time this year assisting with the aftermath from a natural disaster. He’s helped with two hurricanes in Texas, fires in California, local flooding, Hurricane Laura, and now, Hurricane Zeta.

“I guess I enjoy the exhilaration, really," Simmons said.

A week ago, Wednesday, he received a call from the American Red Cross.

“And booked a plane and I was flying out on Thursday. That’s the way we do things here, because it’s an emergency, once you get a call, you have to leave straight away," Simmons said.

He has been volunteering with the Red Cross for the last five years, so he says the call was nothing new for him.

“It’s not a problem. I know the ropes, I know what to do, I’ve got my bag almost all packed, ready, I keep it in ready mode," Simmons explained.

This time he was sent to southeastern Louisiana, where he is now helping with disaster assessment after Category 2 Hurricane Zeta hit the area.

“We go around all the areas being hit by the hurricane, and we have a special program we put all the information into on the phone, and it goes to a master computer system and that coordinates all the other activities that need to be done," he said.

Simmons said this hurricane was a fast-moving storm.

“It has done a lot of damage, but it’s not sustained damage, there’s a few roofs have been lifted," he said.

Even with working 12-hour day shifts, Simmons says volunteering is always worth it.

“I feel great about being here because I know I can help people," he said.

Simmons will be in Louisiana for another week. He said he will continue to volunteer with the Red Cross, as long as he stays healthy. He usually volunteers with his wife Brenda, but she stayed home this time to assist with polls during the election.

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