Pioneer Valley Red Cross to assist in Oklahoma tornado recovery - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Pioneer Valley Red Cross to assist in Oklahoma tornado recovery

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Looking at the images from the Oklahoma City suburbs that have been reduced to rubble is compelling people across the nation to act.

Western Mass is no different.

"To comfort, we're there to counsel, to help and we have one that will be leaving soon for that," said Red Cross volunteer Mark Brinkerhoff.

A Red Cross volunteer and registered nurse will join the thousands expected to assist in Oklahoma as they dig out from the devastation.

Brinkerhoff is a volunteer with the Pioneer Valley Red Cross.

He's been deployed to help in tornado recovery several times, including a deadly tornado that hit Tuscaloosa, AL in May 2011.

Just days later, he got the call to come to Springfield.

"I was serving there and came home and immediately came up here," Brinkherhoff said.

Brinkerhoff assisted Western Mass in its own recovery after the June 1, 2011 tornado killed three, leveled hundreds of homes and still has left people rebuilding.

"It's devastating, you can see the devastation on TV but until you stand there and experience it yourself, it's just unbelievable," he said.

Brinkerhoff says every bit of assistance counts during these times of disaster, whether it's a small donation of money or blood.

But he says he's proud to be a part of a team that can even offer a glimmer of normalcy in someone's most trying hour.

"We want to get them to a place of safety, we want to get them to a place where they can clean up, where they can find some rest," he said.

Donna Kinney of Warren, MA will be deployed Wednesday morning to assist in Oklahoma.

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