KATC:"Red Cross Volunteers Sacrifice Holidays, Down-Time to Serve in Louisiana" - Islamic Relief USA

For many American Red Cross volunteers helping with the flood in Louisiana, Easter Sunday will be a time away from family and friends.

Instead of gathering around a family dinner table or attending church services, this Easter the volunteers will be carrying on with their collective mission of bringing hope and comfort to those whose lives were disrupted by the flooding.

In many ways, it will be another day on the job. But still the Easter message of redemption isn’t lost on Dan and Rhonda Zartman, a retired couple from Athens, Georgia.

“I just see this as love in action,” Dan Zartman said. “It’s nice to sit in a church sanctuary and talk about helping others; this is about going out and actually doing it.”

This is the first deployment for the Zartmans, and it’s all that they had hoped for.

But it’s not just religious holidays that some are missing to be in Louisiana.

Like many American college students, Hemza Salem of Sacramento, Calif., spends hours in classes and looks forward to Spring Break – that annual ritual of fun and frolic.

Instead of going to Zuma Beach or anoother locale, Salem headed to Louisiana after getting the call from Islamic Relief USA, a Red Cross partner, to help with disaster assessment.

Working with Red Cross volunteers, Islamic Relief members like Salem are helping determine the extent of flood damage to homes. It’s a necessary first step to determine where the Red Cross needs to place its resources and who qualifies for various levels of assistance

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