Tucson man sent to Missouri after tornadoes, diverted to help Arkansas flood victims

Lending a helping hand

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Joe Middendorf has been in Ft. Smith, Ark., about 160 miles northwest of Little Rock, for the past two nights, helping out the folks there that are dealing with devastating flooding.

Ft. Smith was not his original destination.

When he left his Tucson home, Middendorf, a volunteer with Red Cross, expected to be helping tornado victims in Jefferson City, Mo., after deadly storms ripped through the area. Middendorf landed in Missouri and found out quickly they had enough volunteers, but there was a need in Arkansas. So he got in a car and drove seven hours to Arkansas.

Middendorf says his job is to help locate shelters, warehouse space and offices for the people in need and for the Red Cross volunteers. He went to a shelter on Wednesday, May 29, and there were 50 clients inside. He expects more to start coming in as the floods continue.

Middendorf said there are four shelters between Ft. Smith and Little Rock to help those affected by flooding from the Arkansas River.

He has been with the Red Cross for two years. This is his fourth deployment in seven months and he expects to be in Arkansas for the next two weeks.

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