Red Cross volunteers from WNY headed to Gulf Coast in advance of Hurricane Harvey

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – With a Category 3 hurricane heading toward the Gulf Coast, volunteers from the Red Cross- including from Western New York- are heading there as well.

Diane Sargent and Laurie Hagen are two of three Red Cross volunteers from Western New York being deployed to the Gulf Coast area. In total, 14 people from Western and Central New York will be deploying.

Sargent and Hagen are trained in disaster assessment, meaning they go into neighborhoods and figure out how bad things are- and what’s needed in that area.

“Until I get there, I’m not sure what to expect,” Hagen said. “I anticipate going to just be of service anywhere that I’m needed.”

During Hurricane Katrina, which struck in 2005, residents needed everything from clothes to food and water, Sargent said.

“This is going to be bad- let’s hope it’s not as bad as Katrina because that was awful,” Sargent said.

This is Sargent’s 43rd deployment with the Red Cross. She also helped out during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Sargent says that at this point, missions tend to blend together in her mind, because the needs of those affected are often the same, no matter how different each disaster is.

Hagen joined the Red Cross in March. This is her first deployment.

Hurricane Harvey is expected to be the most powerful storm to make landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Katrina. The National Hurricane Center is calling the storm “life threatening” with gust potentials of 110 mph.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster in 30 counties. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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