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Binghamton man volunteers in Alabama following deadly tornadoes

(WBNG) — A Binghamton man traveled to Lee County, Alabama after deadly tornadoes claimed 23 lives and left mass destruction.

David Ruston, a licensed social worker, is there through the Red Cross as a disaster mental health worker.

“We hear all the most horrific stories of what’s happened to people, how they ended up, how they died, where they were prior to the incident, what people witnessed,” Ruston said.

Ruston said he helps people overcome the trauma mentally by travelling through the most devastated areas, offering support and resources.

“The disaster mental health component is really important, both for helping the volunteers to process this kind of stuff and working with the victims and survivors,” Ruston said.

Ruston said he visited an area with 23 crosses and spoke with people there.

“That’s kind of a gathering spot for people to come and pay honor to the victims and that’s right near a church, which is a main gathering point for people wanting supplies, clothing, food, water etc,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Ruston has volunteered. He volunteers locally, statewide, and nationally. He said this is his 16th volunteer excursion.

Ruston said he volunteered during the 2006 and 2011 Southern Tier floods. He also was on scene after the 2018 Schoharie limo crash.

If you’re interested in helping the Red Cross, you can become a volunteer by calling 607-785-7207 or learning more online.

You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a monetary donation.

Grace Gagnon

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