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Todd James heads mudslide relief effort

Red Cross representative works in communications

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Todd James, executive director of the American Red Cross of Hancock, Seneca, and Wyandot counties, was in Atlantic City, N.J., helping with the emergency response to Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

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FINDLAY — From coast to coast, Todd James has responded alongside the American Red Cross when disaster strikes.

The executive director of the American Red Cross of Hancock, Seneca, and Wyandot counties traveled to provide assistance after calamities including flood damage in Colorado, tornadoes in Oklahoma, and Hurricane Sandy destruction in Atlantic City, N.J.

On Saturday, Mr. James, 50, of Findlay will travel to Washington state to help with the relief effort following the March 22 landslide that killed at least 30 people.

He is the only area Red Cross representative known to be headed to Washington and will manage the Red Cross public affairs team during a 10-day assignment, during which he expects to be based in Everett, Wash.

This is his sixth Red Cross deployment in the last several years. His specialty is communications, alerting people to available Red Cross services, and informing people around the country how they can help victims of the disaster.

In the roughly two weeks since the mudslide, more than 300 Red Cross workers have provided meals, shelter, and other assistance to victims and their families, as well as helping those affected to create “recovery plans,” Mr. James said.

Red Cross workers also are offering spiritual and mental health support for families of victims.

Mr. James said the relief work brings a mix of emotions, but ultimately he finds the experience “very rewarding.”

“You know that you’ve been able to help these folks in some form, but at the same time there’s a definite melancholy because you know a lot of folks have a long time to go in their recovery,” he said.

The 18-county American Red Cross Northwest Ohio Region sent 16 people to U.S. disaster sites in 2013, and sent someone earlier this year to Indiana and Illinois to help after the fall tornados, according to spokesman Amanda Aldrich.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065, or on Twitter @vanmccray.

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