May 4, 2011 Edition

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Red Cross shelter
aids flood victims

Dana Smith (right) of Success and her husband Brian (not pictured) have been among those using the temporary shelter for flood victims at the Walnut Ridge Community Center. Volunteers at the shelter's information desk Friday afternoon were (standing, from left): Carlene Floyd, Karen Shipman, and (seated) Mandy Dalton and Emily Lawrence.
TD Photo ~ John Bland
John Bland

An American Red Cross temporary shelter for flood victims at the Walnut Ridge Community Center remains open and had 10 occupants as of Tuesday evening. Vicky Davis, community center manager, said the shelter would remain open for several more days if needed.

The Red Cross has manned the shelter at night, while local volunteers have helped out during the day, Davis said.

Davis said there has been an "outpouring of compassion" from area individuals, churches, schools and businesses that provided food, clothing vouchers to Shepherd Care or specific items, if needed.

Among the local volunteers on Friday afternoon were Karen Shipman and Emily Lawrence. Shipman works in Pocahontas, and Lawrence is a BRTC student in Pocahontas. Since neither of them could get to Pocahontas due to the flooding, they had decided to spend the day volunteering at the shelter.

Glendal Floyd of the Lawrence County Amateur Radio Club was also present at the shelter Freiday to provide emergency communications if needed.

Paige VanBrook of the Lawrence County Office of Emergency Management said the highest occupancy at the shelter was 25, but the average daily census has been 14. She noted that people from such communities as Success, Pocahontas and the Portia Bay area have used the shelter.

Brian and Dana Smith of Success make their home on the Little Black River but were forced to leave when the floodwaters rose. They had been living at the Red Cross shelter in Walnut Ridge since Thursday.

The Smiths explained that the Current and Black rivers converge with the Little Black River near their home and floodwaters had overtaken the area.

The Smiths said they have been in Arkansas for three years but have no relatives here. They had considered taking Amtrak to California to stay with family, but scheduled trains had been delayed.

Davis said Tuesday that the Smiths would probably remain in Arkansas to assess damage and salvage their belongings when the waters recede.

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