New Bedford Man Uses Vacation Time to Aid Florida Victims of Hurricane Ian
While many area folks, myself included, spent a crummy Sunday afternoon lounging on the couch watching football, New Bedford's Anthony Lessa, Jr. was in Tampa, Florida, helping to keep relief supplies flowing to the victims of Hurricane Ian that devastated a large swath of the Sunshine State last week.
Several dozen volunteers from Massachusetts deployed to Florida with various relief agencies late last week and over the weekend. More will follow. The need for help is extraordinary.
The 35-year-old Lessa, a building custodian with the City of New Bedford Facilities and Fleet Management Department, is also a volunteer with the New Bedford Emergency Management Department and the American Red Cross.
It is Anthony's third deployment as a Red Cross volunteer. in 2017, Lessa was sent to Dallas, Texas, to assist after Hurricane Harvey caused extensive damage in Houston. Lessa's first deployment in 2012 was here at home after Hurricane Sandy.
Lessa is using two weeks of vacation time for his deployment. His mission, Warehouse/Logistics, is fancy talk for backbreaking and mind-bending work making sure that relief supplies are loaded up and sent to where they are needed.
His first task on Sunday was to truck those supplies to Fort Myers, ground zero for the damage from the storm.
"I do it to keep busy and to help others in need and less fortunate," Lessa said. "I was brought up to always help others."
The needs are immeasurable for the millions impacted by Hurricane Ian in Florida and elsewhere. Anyone wanting to assist can begin with a monetary contribution to one of the many organizations collecting donations and seeking volunteers, such as the American Red Cross.
Here are some other ways you might help.