Aug 312005
Authors: James Baetke


Red Cross Katrina Relief Concert: Sunset Event Center, 242 Linden St.

Admission: $10; all proceeds go to Red Cross for Katrina relief

4 p.m. to close

Open to all ages

Featuring various local bands playing jazz, rock and blues

Door Prizes and other events

Waves of relief are building in Northern Colorado to assist in the relief and recovery efforts to victims of Hurricane Katrina, which pounded the Gulf Coast states earlier this week and left destruction in its wake.

"This is the greatest mobilization in Red Cross history," said Karen Dugan, financial development specialist with the Centennial Red Cross in Fort Collins.

Ten "elite volunteers" from Northern Colorado were sent since Saturday to assist victims in Gulf Coast states and a few more are on hold waiting for their turn, Dugan said.

The volunteers are set to remain there for at least three weeks.

A local firefighter with the Poudre Fire Authority joined a team of 32 highly-trained members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Colorado Task Force One to rescue victims still trapped, said Jason Mantas, spokesman for the fire authority.

"We do have an individual deployed with this team and he was up on the rotation," Mantas said.

The firefighter and his team left yesterday with a four-hour notice to gather equipment and drive to Hattiesburg, Miss., a 25-hour trek. Once there, they are set to receive further instructions on where they will serve.

Mantas said the task force specializes in the retrieving trapped victims and are caravanning with five trucks, three vans and four search dogs. They will also focus on search and recovery efforts.

Liz Barnez, local singer and songwriter, was raised in New Orleans. Most of her family resides near the city and her brother works at a hotel in the French Quarter.

"We have been through hurricanes all our lives, but this one is different. All of my family except a brother are homeless," Barnez said. "It chokes me up."

Barnez gets upset at the images of her city in shambles, losing its personality.

Constantly transfixed to the television, Barnez is helping the Red Cross in a benefit concert Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. at the Sunset Event Center, 242 Linden St. All proceeds go to Hurricane Katrina relief.

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs' Division of Emergency Management announced today it will send out a four-person team tomorrow to set up a base camp in Baton Rouge, La., for emergency workers to shower, manage tasks and eat. They also sent out a team Monday to help coordinate ordering resources, both personnel and equipment, as needed for the area.

The request for help comes from the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, an interstate coalition that accommodates state-to-state mutual aid.

"We are in a response mode; we are trying to get a handle on this," said Polly White, spokeswoman for the state's emergency management division.

EMAC also has requested that member states gather additional doctors, nurses and search and rescue teams to be on notice for deployment, White said. Colorado is already doing that.

"Colorado is rising to the occasion," she said.

Ken Williams, CEO of the local Red Cross chapter said people have been "calling in like crazy" offering donations. Williams said the Red Cross is asking for cash and checks only to assist the Gulf Coast. Those interested in donating can call the local Red Cross at 226-5728 or visit

"Cash moves really quickly and speaks every language," Williams said.

When things are okay for Barnez to return to her roots in Louisiana she plans to help rebuild her family, physically and mentally.

"They lost everything," she said, "except each other."

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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