Rogue Valley volunteers stand ready to offer hurricane relief

Jackson County emergency volunteers are doing their part to help those who could be victimized by Hurricane Gustav.

Phil Gonzalez of Medford, and three other local Red Cross volunteers arrived Saturday in Bryan, Texas, to help set up emergency kitchens to feed those displaced by the storm. Bryan sits about 70 miles northwest of Houston.

"We have the ability to feed 20,000 people per day if we needed to," Gonzalez said. "We are not expecting that many, but we are prepared."

The Bryan emergency site was established to shelter citizens of Beaumont, Texas, a city of more than 113,000 that sits on the Gulf of Mexico.

Gonzalez said Red Cross crews from across the country worked quickly all day Saturday to prepare for the worst. Gustav was upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane Saturday and is on course to strike New Orleans and the Texas coast by today.

"The mood around here is tense," Gonzalez said. "We are hoping to be open at around noon (today) for those who need help."

In addition, Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford dispatched an emergency services nurse to the area to provide on-site health care. Heather Freiheit made the trip Thursday along with several nurses and doctors from across Oregon, according to hospital officials.

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