MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When disaster strikes, the American Red Cross are the first ones on the ground.

Recently, volunteers from the metro were called to help during Superstorm Sandy.

The first Minnesota man on the ground is now back home.

“Our instructions were to be there Sunday by noon,” David Schoeneck said, arriving before the storm even hit. “I’ve done three tornadoes, two hurricanes, four floods — no five.”

He stayed for two weeks, spending some nights in the shelter itself.

“It’s the most devastating thing I’ve ever seen,” he said. “The thing you have to remember about shelter populations is that they tend to be the most disadvantaged.”

He was grateful to the Minnesotans back home, hearing that the CBS telethon raised more than $180,000 for the efforts of the Red Cross for things such as response trucks, food and water.

It also supports the volunteers, who made up 90 percent of the response efforts on the East Coast.

“Volunteering for the Red Cross is really an opportunity to give back to the community,” Schoeneck said.

That giving back can come with some consequences.

“The one regret that I have is that I missed our 37th wedding anniversary,” he said. “I sent my wife some roses and I think I got off OK. She understood.”

About 50 other Minnesotans have also dropped everything to be on the ground.

“We’re sending more people as others come back,” Schoeneck said. “It’s probably going to be a response that takes us well into next year.”

If you want to donate to the Red Cross recovery efforts, just text REDCROSS to 90999 for a $10 donation.


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