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Volunteers step up to help in wake of South Napa earthquake

Bay Area residents are stepping up to help in the wake of Sunday's powerful 6.0-magnitude earthquake.
When things get rough, it sometimes brings out the best in people. And that's certainly the case in the wake of the earthquake that struck the North Bay hard. Local officials are busy signing up volunteers to send them where help is need the most.

"Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will support and defend the Constitution of the United States?" said Emergency Volunteer Center Manager Gregg Deselms.

Lynn Podesta isn't becoming a citizen, or a police officer. She's becoming a volunteer.

"Yes I do," she answered. To which Deselms said, "You are now sworn in."

Napa County gives the oath to all volunteers so they're covered in case of injury.

Since the earthquake, they've given it to dozens each day who've shown up to help.

"My children were gracious enough to help me clean up my house," Podesta said. "So now I feel the need to go out and help others."

They've come from far and wide.

"Since Vallejo didn't need my help, I decided I'd just come up to Napa to see what I could do up here," said volunteer Patricia Wheeler.

Some, with unexpected time on their hands.

"Because they got nothing to do, their businesses got destroyed or whatever," Deselms said.

And the county's more than happy to put them to work.

"What I've got for you is tags to hang on doors, they are in English and Spanish," said one volunteer coordinator.

Jason Keever's helping the water department notify people whose water has been tested, and is safe to drink.

He's joining an army of volunteers fanning out across neighborhoods.

"I got really lucky that I didn't lose a lot," Keever said. "My family is the same, and I just wanted to pay it forward."

But for all the work that's left to be done out in the streets, some of the biggest need for volunteers is actually sitting behind a desk.

Video from drone pilot Evan Kilkus shows just a few out of the hundreds of damaged buildings that now need permits to be repaired.

At last check, the city of Napa had a backlog of close to a thousand applications. And they need volunteers to process them.

"I need to keep 10 people at those workstations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m," Deselms said

There will be more heavy lifting to do.

"We keep getting warned that there's gonna be a call for people to go out and pick up bricks that have fallen out of buildings," Deselms said.

A call the folks here are sure will be answered.

"It's great to see the community pull together," Keever said. "And really, go Napa!"

To learn more about how you can help, click here.
Related Topics:
news earthquake south napa earthquake state of emergency disaster prepare norcal power outage PG&E water main break gas leak construction Napa Vallejo American Canyon
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