Red Cross volunteers head to the east coast before Florence

Jeff Smith on his second deployment with the American Red Cross Ohio Buckeye Region, headed to the east coast to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
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Jeff Smith kissed his family goodbye, grabbed his bags and walked into the John Glenn Columbus International Airport, Wednesday.

It's his second deployment with the American Red Cross Ohio Buckeye Region. He's headed to the east coast to lend a hand for the possible aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

"Yeah, you just want to help these folks and your heart goes out to them," he said.

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Smith retired from the Army Special Forces and served about 10 years in combat zones in the middle east. He's been a volunteer with the Red Cross for about a year-and-a-half.

"But, now, I'm doing it for Americans and there's no greater joy that you can have than to help your fellow man, hopefully," Smith said.

Kitty Stephens also deployed, Wednesday.

"I just really, really enjoy this," she said. "It's my passion."

Her passion has been strong for the last two years. It's when she started volunteering with the Red Cross. It's when she started wanting to help others, after her own medical scare.

"There's just something really nice about it," she said. "I had cancer a couple years ago. Since then, that's when I started doing this. I wanted to help people."

Since then, she's made it her personal goal.

"I promised myself every year I would try to help people and make a difference," she said. "And, that's what I do."

Stephens and Smith are two of about 10 volunteers already on the coast. The Red Cross says more volunteers will be deployed, if needed, after Florence makes landfall.

"You know, you're only going around once and you got to give as much as you can to other people," Stephens said.

"I'll end up working with a bunch of people I've never met before," Smith said. "We've never worked together before as a team and I'll go down there and they'll plug me in. It's just absolutely amazing how the Red Cross and other agencies can take all these people that never met and put us where they need us at that moment."

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