FINDLAY, Ohio — Few people in northwest Ohio have answered the call to service more often than Todd James.
James will be heading down to Kentucky this week to help with relief efforts following the flooding that has claimed at least 38 lives as of Tuesday.
When the Red Cross needs out-of-state help in disaster response areas, James, the executive director of the American Red Cross of North Central Ohio, is on a shortlist of people who get the call.
On Monday, he learned he was needed to help the relief efforts in eastern Kentucky.
"This time around they needed someone to give the team a break that's currently down there. My name was on the list so they gave me a call and said 'Hey, can you go?'" James said. "So I'm on my way."
James says he was nearly in the same area of eastern Kentucky last year, but this year's flooding is much worse.
And though it has now been more than two weeks since the initial storms in July, the Red Cross is still acting in response mode for residents there and has not shifted to do much recovery work yet.
"There's a lot of areas we can't get into yet. So people can't go back to see if there's anything left of their home, let alone start recovery and rebuilding. So, that's our big focus right now, is the response, the sheltering, the feeding, while also starting that recovery piece," James said.
"Do they have access to those critical needs, those day-to-day things that we might take for granted but they lost in the floods? They lost their eyeglasses, their prescriptions, their canes, medical equipment," he said. "So we're making sure they have those, have access to crisis counseling and to health resources."
James says it could be months or even a year for these folks in eastern Kentucky to recover from this flooding event.
If you'd like to help, the easiest way is a simple direct donation to the American Red Cross disaster relief fund.
If you have emergency supplies to donate, the Red Cross can connect you with a local organization that can get them down south.