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LOCAL HEEDS CALL TO ASSIST OTHERS.

Byline: Stacy Brown Daily News Staff Writer

After spending 10 years in a talent agency helping potential artists get discovered, Tom Busk said he felt the need to lend his hand to a different kind of needy.

The Canyon Country man left the agency last summer to help victims of floods, fires and other disasters as part of the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Team.

``If there is one thing I've learned is that if you are going to do something, you might as well do something that you can be proud of,'' Busk said from disaster headquarters in the Adirondacks of upstate New York where ice storms have wiped out power and communication lines causing chaos for thousands of residents.

Busk is the disaster relief specialist in charge of the Santa Clarita Valley and Burbank zones.

``Right now, I am faced with spending the next three to four weeks sleeping on a cot in the financial office of a local car dealership,'' Busk said.

``But this is work that needs to be done,'' he said.

While many watch news reports of the disasters on the East Coast and other areas around the country and world, Busk said it is difficult for him to follow broadcast and written accounts without wanting to spring into action.

``I've never felt that a person could see these kinds of things and not care about what is going on around them.

``It's difficult to see the disasters so I try not to watch the news or read the papers, I just wait for my next assignment,'' Busk said.

Meanwhile back at home in mild Southern California, Busk's wife, Sherry, and their two kids, Heather, 12, and Terry, 7, are missing their No. 1 guy.

``It gets lonely without him and I know he gets lonely without us,'' Sherry Busk said. ``But the kids and I are very proud of him and we do make him check in with us,'' she said.

Busk said things can get a little tough at times without his loved ones and looks forward to coming home to his favorite meal: Chinese food.

``I know it puts a heavier burden on Sherry when I'm not there and I miss them. Sherry's been very supportive,'' he said.

From sunrise to hours past sundown, Busk said his current task is to prepare and deliver food to the thousands in New York who were left without resources.

``We try (to) stabilize them, get them back on their feet a little and then we make way for (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), who gives them the financial aid they really need,'' Busk said.

The desire to help others prompted Busk to take a $12,000 pay cut to dedicate time to his volunteer duties.

``I used to volunteer in my spare time to help the Red Cross,'' he said. ``But I felt this was something that I needed to do full time,'' Busk said.

Thousands of disaster team members, paid and voluntary, throughout Los Angeles County have been assigned to catastrophes across the globe.

Once they are trained, team members provide free help to victims of fires, storms, train derailments, floods, land slides and other disasters.

Assistance ranges from immediate shelter to more long-term needs, such as clothing, food and medical help.

Busk admitted he didn't know what to expect as a full-time Red Cross worker. Locally, he had volunteered in wildfire disasters, but that didn't compare to the ice storms that have gripped the Northeast. In upstate New York, up to 18 inches of snow has fallen, and about 62,800 customers remain without electrical power.

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Photo

PHOTO (Color) Canyon Country resident Tom Busk is in upstate New York with the Red Cross helping victims cope with the ice storms.
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Article Details
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 19, 1998
Words:629
Previous Article:`TITANIC' NO ICEBREAKER, BUT IT IS A BLOCKBUSTER.
Next Article:DISTRICT GETS LAND FOR HIGH SCHOOL.


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