Bend Red Cross volunteer back from Oso

Five-year veteran says each tragedy leaves memories

Bend Red Cross Volunteer returns from Oso

BEND, Ore. - When Red Cross volunteer Bob Pohly of Bend received the call to head to Oso, Washington, he didn't hesitate.

"I started out in 2011 with tornado relief in Alabama, went back to Alabama for hurricane Isaac and then went to Hurricane Sandy and did hurricane relief there," Pohly said Wednesday.

A five-year volunteer, Pohly is no stranger to disaster. But each tragedy leaves a different memory.

"We got about 200 yards down from the debris field, and we were serving lunch and snacks to the first responders right outside the area where they were decontaminated by the National Guard," Pohley recalled.

For 12 days, Pohley served breakfast, lunch and dinner to first responders, people in the community -- and people who simply had nowhere else to go.

"We were serving lunch at the community center for about 75-100 people and then dinners, we would serve anywhere between 200-300 dinners at the community center," Pohley said.

When a community as small as Oso is hit with tragedy, Pohley says everyone in surrounding neighborhoods is affected as well.

"It was almost surreal, because it was all over in like three minutes," he said. "I talked to one survivor and she said it literally was three minutes from start to finish, and they had no idea what had happened -- it was just shell-shock."

Pohley's been back in Bend for a few weeks now, but keeps a close eye on what's happening up north.

He knows his help, be it big or small, made a difference.

"Even though it's traumatic and the hardship conditions, the rewards of helping others are really really great," Pohley said.

Since the March 22nd landslide, the American Red Cross has mobilized five response vehicles and a total of more than 480 trained workers.

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