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Forum News Service, Published September 16 2013

Area Red Cross volunteer helping Colorado flood victims

GRAND FORKS – Mason Hollifield was the director of the American Red Cross office in East Grand Forks, Minn., during the 1997 Red River flood. So, he knows about disasters.

“This one is worse, much worse than ours,” Hollifield said Monday from Colorado, where he is serving as a volunteer.

“There’s flash flooding, very strong currents, houses just disappearing,” he said. “We’re trying to get our hands around it so we can plan what to do. But it’s still occurring, and things change every five minutes.”

And, with hundreds of people missing and flash flooding in remote areas, officials are unsure of the extent of the damage or the needs.

Hollifield, who lives in Grand Forks, retired in 2004 after 20 years as the executive head of the Red River Valley Chapter of the Red Cross. Since retiring, however, he has routinely volunteered at disasters nationwide. He travels to volunteer on average about twice a year.