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The raging wildfire in Arizona may be across the Pacific, but for the Hawaii Red Cross, when disaster strikes, there are no borders.
Ten volunteers from the islands, including three nurses, started leaving for Yanell on Thursday. Christina Bell will leave on Saturday.
“I just love it. This island, I owe this island so much that I have to give back. And the Red Cross is one way that I can give back,” said Bell, a Hawaii Red Cross Volunteer.
Bell has volunteered with the Red Cross for six years and has undergone seven deployments — her most recent after Hurricane Sandy.
“It’s just an experience you grow in. You grow more and more each time you go out,” Bell said. “It’s just a job you have to do to get ready for the next disaster.”
It’s a job that consists of a grueling schedule.
“You do 12 to 14 hours a day and you work seven days straight. Then you get one day off to recuperate a little bit,” Bell said.
But to the volunteers, the schedule is not even a second thought. They will assist at Red Cross shelters in the area, providing food, water, and mental health services.
“We work in all areas. The major point is to work where you’re needed. You might get assigned to a certain area, but then you got to jump in a do something else, so you have to be really flexible,” Bell said.
It’s hard work that Bell says is returned as a gift.
“I can come home with a smile. Even though it’s sad what we leave behind, but you do the best you can,” Bell said.