08/15/04 — Shelters set up in Wayne

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Shelters set up in Wayne

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on August 15, 2004 7:28 AM

Anticipating a more potent Hurricane Charley, the Wayne County Chapter of the American Red Cross opened two shelters and the Salvation Army opened its shelter Saturday about 9 in the morning.

The shelters were closed at 5 p.m.

The Red Cross opened shelters at Spring Creek High School with a total of 66 people and Southern Wayne High School with 35 people. Forty-seven people went to the Salvation Army's shelter.

The Red Cross offered Social Services, mental health, medical and mass care services and food to people staying in its shelters.

Fontaine Swinson was shelter manager at Spring Creek High School. She said shelter volunteers were putting people coming into the shelter in the hallways.

In the past, people have stayed in the school gym, but the high ceiling posed some safety issues. "We kept them away from the windows and high ceilings," Ms. Swinson said.

Twelve volunteers operated the Spring Creek shelter.

Stacy, who preferred her last name not be used, went there with her 2-year-old daughter, Andrea, and 5-year-old son, Lane.

They live in the Seven Springs/Albertson area. They went to the shelter at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

"We just moved to this area and live in a trailer," she said. "We came to the shelter for safety reasons."

They took the basic necessities with them -- toothbrushes, toothpaste, food, bedding, games, books.

Also at the Spring Creek shelter was the Salinas family -- father Reynaldo, mother Charity, 8-year-old Kaila, 9-year-old Tristain and 3-year-old Ray.

They live in Mount Olive. They went to the shelter Saturday morning because they live in a trailer and wanted to get to a safer place.

They took food, extra clothes and water with them.

Richard Grady was the shelter manager at Southern Wayne High School. Eighteen volunteers manned the shelter.

Ramon Mata went to the Southern Wayne shelter with his family -- wife, Flora; daughters, 7-year-old Leslie and 1-year-old Yasmin; and son, 2-year-old Misael. They arrived at the shelter about 12:30 Saturday afternoon.

"We went there to be safe," said Mata. "Where we live, there are too many trees and we didn't want to take our chances there."

The Mata family took food and blankets to the shelter. They also took cards to pass away the time. "And we just talked with each other," Mata said.

Also at that shelter were Jessie and Ella Long of Dudley, who arrived about 2:15 p.m. Saturday.

Although it turned out the shelters were not needed as long as originally thought, they gave people peace of mind knowing they had somewhere safe to turn, said Teresa Williams, Red Cross disaster services director.

She suggested that everyone keep an eye on Tropical Storm Danielle and Tropical Depression Five, which could possibly turn into hurricanes.

"Storms seem to be popping up fast this year," she said. "Everyone needs to get prepared now."