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American Red Cross moves headquarters to Utica for flood recovery

By NICOLE PITT

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The American Red Cross of CNY has temporarily moved it's headquarters from Syracuse to Utica to better deal with emergency response and recovery efforts following the Flood of 2013.

The offices are now set up inside 177 Genesee Street, the former Harza Building in Downtown Utica, now known as the

On Monday, a group of local elected officials toured the headquarters. Senator Joe Griffo (R, Rome), Senator Dave Valesky (D, Oneida) and Assemblyman Marc Butler (R, 118th District) were joined by representatives from Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi's office (D, 119th District) and Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney's office (R, 101st District) to learn more about how the relief efforts are coming along.

After the tour of the headquarters many local officials headed out to the flood regions. Half of the group went to Oneida and the other half went to Ilion to survey the damage and the progress that has been made so far.

Red Cross officials say it is very rare to have an operations unit this large set up in our area. The organization says there are about 175 volunteers who are actively helping out.

Jen Balog, the Community Chapter Executive for the American Red Cross Mohawk Valley Chapter says the biggest need right now is money. They are looking for donations to help in this process.

Now that the emergency situation has calmed, the focus now is rebuilding and providing emotional support. "They've processed it now. It's been a few days. At first you are just looking for cover, looking for something to eat but as the days go by it really starts to set in and you know you can get depressed you can get very stressed and again you could have some health issues and so I was just so moved by how many of them just wanted a hug," said Rosie Taravella, the Regional CEO of the American Red Cross of CNY.

Kenneth Turner, the Job Director for this operation says moving the headquarters closer to the flood ravaged zones has allowed the organization to respond faster and more efficiently. "We're going to be set up here as the needs unfold and we'll be here until we meet the needs," said Turner. "We have an estimate that we could be here another 7 to 10 days."

After the headquarters is sent back to Syracuse the local chapter of the American Red Cross will take over day to day operations.

The American Red Cross is always looking for volunteers. You can apply online or you can stop down to the headquarters and apply to become a volunteer.

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