'We’re happy to do it’: Horry County woman travels nearly 3,000 miles to help wildfire victims in Oregon

Barbara Lemieux, center, traveled nearly 3,000 miles to help people in Oregon.
Barbara Lemieux, center, traveled nearly 3,000 miles to help people in Oregon.(Source: Red Cross)
Updated: Sep. 16, 2020 at 5:31 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - A Horry County woman is in Medford, Oregon right now, volunteering with the Red Cross to help people affected by area wildfires.

Carolina Forest resident Barbara Lemieux arrived Saturday and plans to be there until Sept. 26. She’s working at a Red Cross shelter and helping people who can’t get to their homes.

Many of the people she’s helping had to evacuate for the first time in their lives. Lemieux said a lot of people can’t even go back home to check on their houses because the air quality isn’t at a point that is safe for them to return.

Lemieux said she didn’t have to think twice about traveling nearly 3,000 miles to help the victims of the wildfires.

“We’re happy to do it,” Lemieux said. “That’s what we’re here for.”

Lemieux’s volunteering experience goes back many years, despite only having volunteered with the Red Cross for about 18 months.

“I grew up in a family where my mother gave back, and I’ve been volunteering since I was 17 or 18,” Lemieux said.

Lemieux is even going through a difficult time herself. She said she was laid off from her job, so now she’s been waiting to go back to work for a long time.

Despite the difficult situation she’s in, she’s choosing to use her time away from work to help people who are also in a difficult situation.

“My son was in the military and I’ve had a situation where he had to be taken care of when he was far away from me, and I appreciated the fact that there were people there for him,” Lemieux said. “For me, that’s how I see it.”

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