At least a half-dozen Red Cross volunteers from Iowa are now in southern California, after being dispatched over the weekend to help people who lost their homes, jobs or loved ones in the sweeping wildfires. Julie Struck, of Des Moines, is leaving late this afternoon for the disaster area of San Bernadino.Struck is the AmeriCorps coordinator for the Red Cross’ Central Iowa chapter. She’ll be providing training on all disaster relief functions for the incoming Red Cross volunteers and workers from California and from all other states. Struck has worked several disaster sites in recent years, including being assigned to New York City after the September 11th attacks. She says she’s ready for this new assignment on the other coast. She says “They train us very well in handling the stress of the situation and just the pressure of getting it done right then and right there.” Struck is the latest Iowan to be assigned to the California fires. Officials say the wildfires are close to being contained. The recent cold weather brought rain and snow to the California mountains and helped in the effort. At least 22 people have died in the fires. Some 35-hundred homes were lost and more than 700-thousand acres were torched.
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