About three dozen eastern Iowans gathered at the Grant Wood Red Cross chapter in Cedar Rapids this weekend to take “disaster college” classes. The courses usually last several weeks, but the Red Cross is speeding-up the training to get more people qualified to go south to help hurricane victims. Deanna Austin was among those who took the classes on Saturday. She says after watching the hurricane coverage, she felt “compelled” to quit sitting, in comfort, at home. “I just wanted to do something,” she says. The Red Cross is trying to recruit 40-thousand new volunteers to go to the Gulf Coast. They’ll take the places or start working alongside the 86-thousand Red Cross volunteers who are already there.
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