Red Cross staff member from western Virginia joins relief effort in Hawaii

Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 7:34 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The American Red Cross is responding to the wildfire disaster in Hawaii. Friday morning, a staff member left Roanoke to join the relief effort there.

We met Danielle Englund and her fiancé Brian Carter at the Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport. Called on short notice, she told us she was preparing physically and mentally to join the Red Cross relief effort in Hawaii.

“We know that there has been a significant death toll with this emergency and that there’s so much devastation,” Englund told WDBJ7. “I’ve seen images and videos and I’m preparing myself to see it in real life for the first time.”

Englund is the Regional Disaster Preparedness Manager. Her assignment in Hawaii will involve staff services, which she describes as H.R. for a disaster response.

She has done this before, but says every disaster is different.

“Without having gone yet, I’m not really sure what to expect, but I know it will be a meaningful experience, because every disaster response I’ve worked on has been,” Englund said. “I’ve learned something new about myself every time we go. I increase my skills, but I also learn so much about the communities we visit.”

It takes an understanding family.

Englund said she will miss the first day of school and the birthdays of her fiancé and one of her children.

She expects to be in Hawaii for three weeks returning to western Virginia in early September.