South Carolinians continue to aid in Hurricane Sandy relief effo - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

South Carolinians continue to aid in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Three months after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast, thousands are still homeless or without power. Since the disaster, South Carolinians have been rotating in and out to help relief efforts.

Retirement led Al Nooft to start volunteering with the Red Cross 3 years ago, but the satisfaction has kept him there.

"It's worth it when you go see a child or an adult and just say 'How are you doing?' They let you sit down with them, talk to them," said Nooft. "It makes it worthwhile."

Nooft was one of 140 South Carolinians who traveled to New York after Hurricane Sandy.

"We had not seen an area like that before," said Nooft.

Unlike Katrina, Sandy's damage was delivered to a concentrated urban area. The Red Cross is now focused on getting around 9,000 homeless families into shelters. That's where Lexington's Dan Coto comes in.

"They've had a lot of Nor'easters come up and a lot of snowstorm, but they've never had the storm surge," said Coto.

Coto's been working between FEMA and the local governments helping get the urban refugees housing. He says their mission in the Northeast is a long way from over.

"It's going to continue for a year or two," said Coto. "This isn't something that in a few months we'll just pack up and leave. This is a long-term situation."

It's a situation that the Red Cross will continue to rely on volunteers, like Nooft, to see through.

"Everybody gets help at some time or another," said Nooft. "Whether it's someone helping you with a flat tire or bringing you a meal when a loved one dies. I decided this was a good way to pay it back."

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