AREA MAN GETS TASK OF HELPING FLOOD VICTIMS; WHEN RED CROSS CALLS, HE GOES.Byline: Mary Schubert Daily News Staff Writer
When disasters strike, Tom Busk busk
intr.v. busked, busk·ing, busks
To play music or perform entertainment in a public place, usually while soliciting money. likes to pitch in wherever help is needed. As an American Red Cross American Red Cross: see Red Cross. staffer, he has been sent to storm and flood relief efforts all over the country.
Busk, 49, a Canyon Country resident, has been in West Virginia West Virginia, E central state of the United States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania and Maryland (N), Virginia (E and S), and Kentucky and, across the Ohio R., Ohio (W). Facts and Figures
Area, 24,181 sq mi (62,629 sq km). Pop. for a week, providing damage assessment services to victims of severe flooding. President Clinton declared 15 counties in West Virginia List of 55 counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia:
State Abbr. FIPS State Code State
WV 54 West Virginia
FIPS County Code County Name
001 Barbour County
003 Berkeley County
005 Boone County
007 Braxton County
009 Brooke County
011 Cabell County and several in Ohio as disaster areas, making the region eligible for federal funding to pay for recovery and rebuilding.
In some areas, storms at the end of June dumped eight inches of rain within a matter of hours.
Speaking Tuesday from a disaster relief service center set up at a junior high school in Ripley, W.Va., Busk said creeks and streams that normally are 10 to 15 feet wide swelled to twice that width because of the heavy rainfall.
``It just dumped buckets full (of rain), and of course, (the water) can't drain fast enough,'' said Busk, a disaster specialist for Red Cross offices in Santa Clarita Santa Clarita, city (1990 pop. 110,642), Los Angeles co., S Calif., suburb 30 mi (48 km) NW of downtown Los Angeles, on the Santa Clara River; inc. 1987. Situated in the Santa Clara valley and nearby canyons, Santa Clarita includes the former towns of Canyon Country, and Burbank.
In Jackson County Jackson County is the name of 23 counties and one parish in the United States:
``They haven't had a flood like this in at least 10 years,'' Busk said. ``The aid is definitely needed, but ironically, a lot of them are too proud to accept it.''
Many victims have been hesitant to come to Red Cross disaster relief centers to obtain assistance. ``They're very proud. They're cleaning out their flooded homes, and their attitude is: Someone else needs (help) more than I do,'' Busk said. ``They're very independent.''
Before he became a full-time disaster relief specialist with the Red Cross last October, Busk worked for International Creative Management, the talent agency that represents some of the entertainment industry's biggest stars.
The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing See Terrorism "The Oklahoma City Bombing" (Sidebar); Venue "Venue and the Oklahoma City Bombing Case" (Sidebar). spurred his interest in helping disaster victims, he said. ``After you start volunteering, you can't watch the news the same way any more,'' he said.
Last year, the Red Cross sent him to Grand Forks, N.D., to help run a hot meals delivery program for flood victims. In January, the agency dispatched Busk to upstate New York Upstate New York is the region of New York State north of the core of the New York metropolitan area. It has a population of 7,121,911 out of New York State's total 18,976,457. Were it an independent state, it would be ranked 13th by population. . ``They had an ice storm where thousands of power poles were cut off and knocked over,'' he said.
``On that one, I coordinated between a kitchen and a group of emergency response vehicles. In two weeks, we put out 26,000 meals,'' Busk said. In early 1997, Busk performed damage assessment in the wake of flooding devastation in Northern California caused by rainfall and snowmelt snow·melt
1. The runoff from melting snow.
2. A period or season when such runoff occurs: streams that flood during snowmelt. .
Disaster victims display amazing courage, he said. ``The thing that always strikes me . . . is the tenacity of the people, despite the fact that they have lost almost everything,'' Busk said. ``They will cry for a while, and then get up and go on.''