The Winamac woman who recently returned from Texas after spending two weeks assisting the Red Cross with mass care efforts there, is leaving once again – this time to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Sherry Fagner is one of six Indiana volunteers who were chosen to be a part of the jump team that was assembled to be deployed to the area.
When Sherry returned from Texas, she was a little under the weather. However, she said she is feeling better now as she physically, mentally and emotionally prepares for her journey. She leaves today and will spend a day or two in Atlanta, Georgia for staff collection then she will leave from there to the islands.
Sherry said that although she will be using her volunteer experience in similar ways, the conditions she’ll witness will be strikingly different from those affected here in the continental U.S.
“Very austere conditions is what they’re telling us on the islands at the moment.” Sherry explained, “No power, no potable water, airports are still closed. I mean, there’s all kinds of infrastructure issues but they are slowly bringing those back day by day.”
Fagner said that in Texas, the majority of damage was caused by flooding, where as the Virgin Islands saw much more wind damage, resulting in major visible infrastructural devastation. Fagner said often times Americans forget that the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are U.S. territories. Although they may be an ocean away, they’re still a part of our country and Fagner said when you look at it on a human level, there isn’t a difference between a state and a territory.
Sherry will be deployed for three weeks this time around and said she has received broad based orders that could encompass a wide range of issues. Specifically, she was told she’d be working with bulk distribution but orders could change depending on the type of assistance needed on site.