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Montana Red Cross volunteer gives more than a decade of service

Posted at 12:50 PM, Apr 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-22 14:50:27-04

KALISPELL – Volunteers are often the faces behind the Red Cross’ mission to provide relief to those affected by disasters big and small.

Lewis Savik is a Montana Red Cross volunteer with more than a decade of service. 

When disasters strike, Red Cross volunteers are deployed from around the country to provide relief.

"Most people are so appreciative of the Red Cross being there to just give them a little help. Sometimes it’s the first positive thing that’s happened since they’ve had a fire, tornado, flood, or hurricane," Savik said.

Savik, who is also the president of the Northwest Chapter of the Red Cross, had his first deployment in 2008.

"It was Beaumont, Texas after Hurricane Ike and I worked in a Southern Baptist kitchen putting out about 20,000 meals a day and I worked in a portable kitchen," said Savik.

Savik recently returned from a deployment to Indiana where he worked in a shelter and helped families through the aftermath of flooding.

"At one time I think they had seven shelters open because they had six-to-eight inches of snowfall followed by 60-degree weather and rain," Savik said. "So that caused the rivers to overflow to the low-lying areas."

Savik said when he gets the call, there is little time to prepare or say goodbye.

"When we get the call, we are expected to be on the place the next morning to deployment," he said.

In his more than a decade of service, Savik has deployed six other times following disasters, once driving an emergency response vehicle all the way from Montana to New York following Hurricane Sandy.

"You could be going into a dangerous situation and you know you may be sleeping on cots for the two or three week deployment. But the satisfaction you get is the many hugs and thanks and even the tears," Savik said.

Savik added the sentiment is universal among all of the Red Cross volunteers he has worked with in service.

He was named Montana’s Disaster Volunteer of the Year in 2012.

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