2 Valley Volunteers Aid Florida Fire Victims

In the wake of the devastating wildfires that have swept through three counties in the east-central coast of Florida, two local American Red Cross disaster-relief volunteers specializing in physical and mental health services are lending a helping hand to victims.

The two local volunteers are Northridge resident Delio Perez, who arrived in Florida on Thursday, and Frank Chew, of Canoga Park, who has been stationed at the Red Cross Service Center at Palm Shores in Flagler County since July 4, said Mike Powers, a spokesman for the Los Angeles chapter.

Perez, 67, a retired nurse, will provide first aid medication and bandaging services at the Disaster Service Center in Port Orange in Volusia County, Powers said.

A licensed psychologist who recently retired, Chew, 72, is serving as a volunteer disaster mental health specialist.


“In the past week or so, we’ve been serving 125 people a day,” Chew said. “Our family service people have been providing mental counseling services on a one-on-one basis. We are also serving their immediate needs, such as food and shelter.”

Kim Manning, a spokeswoman with the American Red Cross Florida Wildfire Disaster Relief Operation, said that 171 out of the 413 homes that were affected in Volusia, Flagler and Brevard counties were destroyed.

Since the Florida wildfires began last month, about 1,600 Red Cross disaster relief workers have served more than 111,000 meals and have issued 800 comfort kits, which contain personal hygiene supplies such as washcloths, razors, combs, toothbrushes and soap, to victims and firefighters, Manning said.