Hurricane Ida: IL Red Cross volunteer helping storm victims on ground in Louisiana

Ravi Baichwal Image
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Chicago area volunteer helping Hurricane Ida victims on ground
EMBED <>More Videos

"There was definitely a few of them, they were so anxious that they couldn't even sleep that night," Red Cross volunteer Geoff Armstrong said.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In Baton Rouge, the Red Cross has been standing up shelters since Hurricane Ida roared ashore Saturday night. Macomb's Geoff Armstrong was there bouncing, as he says, between some 20 families and radiating support.

"There was definitely a few of them, they were so anxious that they couldn't even sleep that night," Armstrong said. "And the way the wind was hitting the shelter and rapping up against the roof, it was very uneasy and unnerving for them."

The 35-year-old bachelor has helped out at numerous disasters, but said Ida was about the worst.

SEE ALSO | Local volunteers go to Louisiana help Hurricane Ida victims, recovery

"A lot of them were very anxious about the floodwaters coming up or their family members or other pets," he said.

His spirit of giving is reflected in the work of so many across Illinois who are helping the victims of Ida, like the folks at Aerocare in Aurora. Their phones rang after midnight as FEMA asked for their air ambulances to get to the hurricane zone Tuesday morning packed with medical staff and supplies.

And local restaurants with a Cajun connection - like Pearl's Southern Comfort in Edgewater - are also seeking to do good.

"I could not imagine trying to come back after COVID and now a hurricane on top of that," owner Rich Hagerty said. "It has got to be devastating."

Pearl's is donating 10% of their dine-in revenue this weekend to Operation BBQ Relief, which heads to disaster zones like those created by Hurricane Ida and serves comfort food to people who have lost so much.

That Red Cross volunteer and his team will be heading further south Wednesday to stand up more Red Cross shelters for those displaced by Hurricane Ida, representing the heart of Chicago heading out wherever needed in times of trouble

"It is a great city," Hagerty said. "We are always willing to pitch in and help others especially in a time of need."

Donations can be made to the American Red Cross, which will help provide affected people and communities food, shelter, relief supplies, recovery planning support and other assistance.

You can donate by going to or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.