PORTLAND, Ore. Joanne Dulwick's work as a relief leader of a disaster-action team for the American Red Cross Oregon Trail Chapter recently took the Lake Oswego woman to New Jersey to help the victims of massive floods caused by a northeaster in April.
Dulwick and about 10 volunteers spent 16 days providing displaced people with shelter, food, clothing and other support.
"When these people are flooded out of their home and have no place to go, we are there for them," said Dulwick, whose local role with the Red Cross takes her to people in need all over the Portland area.
In 2001, a friend who volunteered for the Red Cross suggested that Dulwick consider volunteering.
Six years and more than 50 classes later, Dulwick is on call one week every other month. Nationally she is always on standby.
Dulwick, 52, also works inspecting damaged houses for Parsons Brinckerhoff. That work is seasonal, which allows her time for volunteering.
With the Red Cross, Dulwick serves as a shelter manager and is part of a team that provides water, food and medical supplies to victims and rescuers through stations and vehicles.
"There are quite a few things that can be done," Dulwick said.
Many of the calls in the Portland area involve house fires that happen at night in which families have lost everything.
"They are very thankful," she said of the victims. "They wouldn't know what to do or have any place to go."
Nationally, Dulwick has helped after wildfires in Colorado and San Diego, and floods in Washington, Illinois and West Virginia.