DENVER (CBS4) – A woman from Colorado has left for Oklahoma to help children affected by the tornado. She was handpicked by the Red Cross because of her experiences helping children through emotional trauma.

The Red Cross sends volunteers to help on the ground, help with donations, but also help the people directly affected by the destruction. Often times it’s the youngest who need the extra attention.

“It’s a rare combination of excitement and kind of nerves and fear,” Mary Beth Riopell with the Red Cross Mile High Chapter said.

It’s what Red Cross workers train to do — head to disaster areas to help in any way they can. For some the work is hands-on.

“Especially when there are children involved, or for anyone really, is the loss of feeling safe,” Marlene Husson said.

Husson is a mental health professional who left for Oklahoma Wednesday with the Red Cross. She says comforting the tornado’s youngest victims means helping them learn to trust their surroundings again.

A young tornado victim being help out of rubble (credit: CBS)

A young tornado victim being help out of rubble (credit: CBS)

“’I thought I could trust where my home was, where my school was, where my activities were, where a place that I could be involved in, in a way that also felt safe, and now it doesn’t,’ ” Husson said.

For children whose schools took a direct hit and in some cases took the lives of their classmates, the students will need honest answers from adults.

“And even if they ask, ‘I know that my best friend isn’t here anymore.’ If they know that, it’s very appropriate for an adult to say, ‘I don’t know why they were taken,’ ” Husson said.

A young tornado victim being comforted (credit: CBS)

A young tornado victim being comforted (credit: CBS)

Despite the devastation they’re surrounded by, being surrounded by loved ones will be the best care.

“If they are able to feel at this point in time that there’s even one caregiver, one person that cares about them, and is going to be there for them, then usually they’re just fine 10 years down the road,” Husson said.

The Red Cross says if you want to help the best thing to do is to donate money.

LINK: How To Help


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