New York man helps Hurricane Ian survivors

As Floridians deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, a northern man is answering the call to travel to the Sunshine State to help those in need.

That’s because the American Red Cross is sending more volunteers to help with relief efforts. Joseph DeCaro, head of disaster mental health for the Red Cross, is one of them.

“I wanted to be part of the relief effort. I thought it was just helping my neighbors,” De Carlo said. “My neighbour is in trouble and I want to go down and help in any way I can.”

De Carlo volunteered with the Red Cross for five years. He was deployed to the hardest-hit areas of Florida. His role is to help survivors of Hurricane Ian cope with their mental health.

What you need to know

  • Joseph De Carlo is deploying to help survivors deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Florida
  • DeCaro’s role is to provide mental health support to those in need during these challenging times
  • De Carlo is expected to be in Florida on his mission for about two weeks

“You’re out there, you’re driving, you’re looking for people who have lost property or partially lost property,” he said. “I’m assessing their resilience. Do they need help with planning? Do they know where the resources are? If they’re very involved in some kind of emotional issue, I might refer them to a hospital or police station.”

It’s a holistic approach to helping the most vulnerable.

DeCaro wants to make sure Floridians are taking care of their emotional health as they deal with property damage, financial loss or the loss of a loved one.

“Red Cross, we are for our neighbors,” he said. “We want them to know that they are not going to face this alone, they have support, we are there and other agencies are ready to provide support.”

DeCaro is expected to be in Florida for about two weeks. He said he has no personal ties to Florida, such as family or friends living in Florida. But he said growing up in New York City influenced his views on how neighbors look out for each other.

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