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Utahns Helping Out with Hurricane Disaster

Utahns Helping Out with Hurricane Disaster

Posted - Sep. 5, 2004 at 9:28 p.m.



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John Hollenhorst reporting As Florida has coped with two big hurricanes in a row, some Utah officials have been there helping out.

And if you'd like to help, they'd welcome it!

A little-known fact is that the states have an agreement to help each other, an "interstate compact". It really means something like: "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours."

In this case, Utah emergency officials are on loan to Florida, to help that state handle the emergency there.

Florida's double-barreled hurricane disaster has called for an extraordinary response from government and charitable agencies. Charley and Frances spread damage over a huge area, and the human needs stretch out over a long time period.

In the middle of Frances's onslaught, we reached Utah emergency official Jody Horn by phone. She's in Florida's capitol helping arrange for donations and volunteers.

Jody Horn, Utah Emergency Official: "It's incredible in the sense that there's always people willing to donate."

While she's on Hurricane duty, the State of Utah pays Horn's salary. The state of Florida covers her overtime and incidental expenses. Horn is temporarily Florida's deputy director of donations, helping make sure money, supplies and volunteers get where they're needed.

Thousands have volunteered to help, even some from outside the state of Florida, Horn says. And donations are always welcome; especially money, but other items too.

Jody Horn, Utah Emergency Official: "Canned foods and the things that are non-perishable are always accepted, and used throughout food banks and the community as it recovers."

If you want to help, you can register by phone at 1-800-FL-HELP1 or on the internet at "volunteerflorida.org."

Meanwhile, it appears that Florida Governor Jeb Bush is willing to return the favor. Horn met him in the course of her duties.

Jody Horn, Utah Emergency Official: "And he expressed that if we ever have a hurricane in Utah, he would be more than willing to come help."

And how's this for returning a favor: Three weeks ago, a church on Florida's East Coast sent tons of food to a church on the Gulf Coast after that area was battered by Hurricane Charley.

Well now, the Gulf Coast church is sending back 600 leftover boxes of food. They're helping the East Coast church cope with Hurricane Frances!

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