15 December 2004
by Karla Redditte
Pete Peterson has served as a American Red Cross volunteer for nearly 10 years. His most recent tour of duty, traveling to Florida after Hurricane Charley.
He says he knew it would be a disaster before he even reached his final destination.
"That entire route had nothing but trees blown away . These big old concrete lights that stick up along the highway, concrete or metal, bent in half and stuff everywhere. I mean debris all over the place. It was that way the whole way," said Peterson.
He spent most of his time in Fort Myers, overseeing a service center used to interview storm victims. But little did he know another storm was coming right around the corner.
"That was the wildest thing. We were there and we had about 10 service centers in the area and that's where we had a lot of functions when the Red Cross was all combined into these service centers. We opened a total of 1800 for the total operation by the way. But any way we had about 10 down there and so we're there doing that and taking care of all these people that have been hit by Charley, and right in the middle of doing that here comes Frances," said Peterson.
The service centers had to be closed because of Frances. When they were reopened, Peterson noticed some of the people waiting in line for help were some of the same people he saw after Hurricane Charley.
Peterson was part of the largest American Red Cross storm response team in history, helping to provide food, clothing and shelter to many people whose lives were turned up side down by Mother Nature, and for that he is very grateful.
"I guess it also makes me realize how lucky I am," said Peterson.