Rapid City man heads to Louisiana to help flood victims

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It's the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy, after more than 20 inches of rain fell in just four days in Louisiana.
Now, one Rapid City man is joining thousands of other American Red Cross volunteers to help Louisiana residents in this time of need.

Kenneth Michaelson says, "It's just nice to be able to know you're doing something helpful."

Kenneth Michaelson has been volunteering with the American Red Cross for six years, Wednesday he was deployed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to assist those who have been displaced by the devastating flooding there.

Michaelson says, "It's fun to help people, it sounds bad to say fun, but it's enjoyable to help the people there. We meet some great folks."

Michaelson is the eighth volunteer from South Dakota to deploy to Louisiana, but the first from this side of the state.
Michaelson will be providing shelter and food to more than 8,000 people in need.

Michaelson says, "So they're reaching out as far as they can now to get people to come and help."

The Red Cross also mobilized about 60 emergency response vehicles, one of them from here in Rapid City, as well as 40,000 ready-to-eat meals and dozens of trailers filled with shelter and kitchen supplies.

Richard Smith says, "All 50 states are currently down there working right now to go in and help, so it relieves some of the burden that's on the community, we also, the Red Cross, really works on building that community back up."

This is a massive operation for the Red Cross, which takes time and money.

Smith says, "The Red Cross is estimating this is going to cost the Red Cross about $30 million in response efforts. When you start looking at all the things that are taking place, meeting people's needs for food, having shelters open, deploying people like Ken."

And you can help by donating at www.redcross.org, by calling 1-800-Red Cross or text the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Smith says, "We're not going to be just there for the next two to three weeks, we're talking, we're going to be there for a couple of years, flooding is just a long time to take care of."