Over the past few weeks, thousands of Red Cross volunteers from near and far have converged on New Jersey and New York to provide help and hope to families affected by Superstorm Sandy. Few have traveled as far as Joseph Jetnil of the Northern Mariana Islands Red Cross Chapter. Home for Jetnil is the Pacific island of Saipan, a U.S. territory located 120 miles north of Guam.
Jetnil joined the Red Cross after retiring. “Volunteering is better than fishing,” he said, adding, “I decided I had been lucky in life and should give back.”
Jetnil is a jack of all disaster-trades, and has worked in logistics, distribution, and warehousing since arriving in New Jersey. Jetnil has been working at the Red Cross warehouse in Somerset, helping coordinate efforts to move relief items such as clean up kits, shovels, rakes, buckets, bleach, and personal care products into areas devastated by Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey.
“Joseph's flexibility and vast knowledge of disaster operations have made him a vital component of the Red Cross' response to Sandy in New Jersey,” said Marita Wenner, director of Red Cross disaster operations for New Jersey relief efforts.
This work adds to his previous experiences responding to hurricanes in North Carolina and flash floods in Kansas and Missouri. Volunteers like Jetnil, with their extensive training and breadth and depth of knowledge, form the backbone of the Red Cross' response to disasters across the country and around the world. (ARC)