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A York-area Red Cross worker is expected to return home this week from flood-ravaged Missouri, where he has been part of a disaster relief operation for nearly two weeks.

James Woof flew to St. Louis on Jan. 5 as part of an American Red Cross logistics team, working as a logistics facilities service associate, according to Adia Walker, disaster workforce engagement lead specialist for the Red Cross of Central Pa.

"He is working on our disaster-relief operation, in response to the winter river flooding," she said. "He's going to be returning (to York) some time this week."

Rare winter flooding brought record crests along the Mississippi River in Missouri and Illinois, swamped parts of southwest Missouri and caused about two dozen deaths, according to The Associated Press. Nearly 11.5 inches of rain fell in parts of Missouri, making it the wettest December in history, AP has reported.

Monitoring relief centers: Woof's duties include making sure Red Cross relief facilities are up and running and have the supplies and resources they need to help victims of the flood, according to Walker.

That would include ensuring enough shelters have been opened and helping to set up recovery centers, she said.

Recovery centers are a one-stop shop for those left homeless or otherwise affected by floodwaters, according to Walker.

Local, state and federal organizations that provide various relief will set up tables in recovery centers, offering everything from cleanup services to food and clothing, she confirmed.

Red Cross workers from around the country are called to disaster areas when local Red Cross staff need help getting the job done, Walker said.

"The Red Cross is set up so we can scale up or scale down, depending on needs," she said.

'Very rewarding': Workers such as Woof can expect to put in 12-hour workdays, she said, but they don't complain.

"There's a lot of work to be done because of the scale of the disaster," Walker said. "They just roll up their sleeves and do it. But it's very rewarding."

Woof, who is retired, is a member of the Red Cross of Central Pennsylvania's local disaster-action team, according to Walker.

"He's very dedicated to the cause," she said.

Woof could not immediately be reached for comment.

Walker said assignments such as Woof's generally last two weeks.

Meals, shelter, relief: Since December, the American Red Cross has served nearly 90,000 meals and snacks, provided nearly 2,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters and distributed more than 55,000 relief items to those whose lives have been affected by storms and flooding, according to a Red Cross news release.

As flood waters work their way south along the Mississippi River, the Red Cross is prepared to provide additional relief supplies and volunteers, the release states.

To help victims of the flooding, visit the Red Cross' website for ways to help. They include donating money, giving blood and volunteering.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.

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