Alaskan Red Cross volunteer helps in California mudslides
When a gunman shot and killed 58 people in Las Vegas, Sharon Smith from Seward responded. Smith was deployed as a mental health volunteer with the Red Cross. Smith is now in the Montecito, California area helping people recover from deadly mudslides that wiped out neighborhoods.
Smith calls her work, "psychological first aid".
On the phone Thursday, Smith said she is talking with people who are now being allowed back to their neighborhoods. She says people are stunned at what they're seeing.
"All these boulders came through and they don't recognize streets and things like that," she told KTVA. "So it's pretty hard. And so some people there's nothing there. For some people, they're lucky there's something there."
Smith is the former Behavior Health director of the Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward. She is retired but still works there on a part-time basis. She has been a Red Cross volunteer for 13 years.
She says the work is important to her because there's always a big shortage of people for disaster mental health in the Red Cross. She encourages others to volunteer or to donate to the Red Cross because of how busy it's been with hurricanes, wildfires and now mudslides.
Smith will be in California for 10 days.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.
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