As many Charleston-area residents are lending a helping hand to those ravaged by this spring's tornadoes and floods -- either by volunteering or donating money -- a former resident said he drew on his experience here after Hurricane Hugo to help him publish a newspaper in the wake of a major disaster.
"We are the only source of news for a lot of people," said Mike Beatty, publisher of The Globe, the daily newspaper in Joplin, Mo. "Just like after Hugo, we have people here who have no power. They are hungry for news, and the newspaper is the only way they can get it."
Beatty, who was the retail advertising manager for the Charleston newspapers when Hugo struck in 1989, said The Globe has not missed an edition since Sunday's tornado.
The death toll for the storm was at 132 on Friday, and there were more than 900 injured. It was the nation's worst single tornado in 60 years.
Beatty said his experience in Charleston enabled him to help his staff know what to expect. "The people on my staff have done an incredible job of getting the news out," Beatty said.
One Globe employee was killed by the storm, Beatty said. "And 20 people lost all of their possessions, everything."
Though no one from Charleston officially has been sent to Joplin by the local chapter of the American Red
Cross, one of the chapter's vehicles was being moved from Alabama to Missouri on Friday.
And Red Cross volunteer Pat Bos left Charleston Friday morning to go to Birmingham, Ala., to work as logistics supervisor at the city's disaster headquarters, said Nancy Olson, a spokeswoman for the Charleston chapter.
Another local resident, Lornia Winnen of Goose Creek, was to return home today after having spent two weeks in northwestern Alabama.
Winnen said she has been working as a client case worker. "That's where you get to meet face-to-face with people who are directly affected by the disaster," she said.
Winnen has been deployed to other out-of-state disasters in the past, and continues to volunteer for local disaster relief, such as residential fires, she said.
"I like to help people," she said. "Sometimes that biggest thing we do for people is to supply a listening ear."
Another volunteer, Charleston resident Bill Schmidt, spent two weeks volunteering as a client case worker in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Schmidt is a security supervisor at Kiawah Island. He said his boss gave him time off so he could volunteer.
"It's a wonderful feeling being able to reach out and help people that you don't know," Schmidt said. "But you have to have a heart for it to be able to do it. When you go out there and you see that devastation, you have to be focused on the people you are helping and not on yourself. You have to be selfless."
Altogether, 21 local people have been sent to out-of-state disaster areas this spring, said Olson of the Charleston chapter. Five people were still deployed as of Friday, she said.
Since the end of March the Red Cross has served more than 2.1 million meals and snacks, opened more than 220 shelters and provided 19,000 overnight stays, provided more than 47,000 mental health and health consultations and handed out more than 1.1 million relief items such as toothbrushes and shampoo, tarps, coolers, rakes and other clean-up supplies, Olson said.