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Local Red Cross volunteers aid California wildfire victims

Two Central Missouri residents are prepared to volunteer and help those affected by the California wildfires that have left many residents without homes.

Tom Shands, of Jamestown, Missouri, and Diana Sommer, from Columbia, have been certified to help with disasters like these wildfires.

ABC 17 News spoke with the director of communications for the American Red Cross of Eastern Missouri, who says now is the time to sign up and train for disasters in which people need help.

Eric Olsen, press secretary for California Congressman, told ABC 17 News that there are over 4,000 firefighters battling four large wildfires in Southern California, and that of those, 1,100 are in Ventura County alone, where Shands and Sommer are both headed.

Red Cross officials said they cannot take individual items such as clothes and food, but they do want people to volunteer their, time like Shands and Sommer are doing.

According to the Red Cross officials, the reason for the pull of volunteers in the Midwest has a lot to do with specifically trained staff.

In Shands’s case, they needed an overnight shelter manager, so Red Cross posted the position nationally, beyond their local region, for help.

Diana Sommer will be serving in Mass Care, sheltering and serving meals.

Shands’ said it’s his God-given duty as a Christian man to help those in need and he’s ready to help those who are less fortunate.

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