A retired spokesman for the Iowa National Guard has been called back to public service to link donations from Iowans with agencies or individuals in the “hurricane zone.” Colonel Robert King’s coordinating donations for victims of this month’s gulf-coast storms, and he says the response has been huge. His own church is sponsoring a family, a husband and wife with five kids age 1 to 10. King says he wasn’t surprised — but was rather overwhelmed at the congregation’s response to their need. As a board member of the Central Iowa Chapter of the Red Cross, King’s gone to the scene of past disasters like Hurricane Ivan in Pensacola, Florida, a year ago and was called to Washington after last winter’s tsumani in southeast Asia. Watching it happen, he says there are a lot of really good people volunteering and going out of their way to help other people. King’s seen the reports that say most of the storm evacuees to arrive in Iowa so far have come because they have friends or family already here. Whether they’ve come through FEMA, a faith group, or just friends or family, he urges people to have newcomers register with their local chapter of the red Cross so they’ll be eligible to get benefits available for them. Colonel King retired from the Iowa National Guard in January of 2004 after serving as its spokesman, and he’s been called back to duty by the governor as a “donation coordinator.” Officials say it’s still best to send a check to the charity of your choice, but if you want to donate goods or services, call the Iowa Concern Hotline at 1-800-447-1985.
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