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Help for wreck patients is found all around the Atlanta area

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. - Help is not far from the patients involved in Thursday's Atlanta-area wreck.

Not only is it coming from area churches, like the Kingdom of God International Ministry which welcomed families as a reunification point Thursday evening, but it is also coming from The Red Cross of Georgia.

The organization's disaster action team deployed to help the victims. Volunteers mobilized quickly, from American Red Cross mental health professionals, to those with nursing backgrounds and case workers.

Sherry Nicholson, Red Cross of Georgia Spokeswoman, said of the victims, "Of course they were in shock a little bit and not sure what happened next. But the Red Cross is here to say we are here with you."

They noticed something special about the group from Madison County.

"My general impression is this is a very faith filled, resilient group of people who definitely were grateful for the support of this community but fell heavily on their faith to help get them through this tragedy," said Nicholson.

Nicholson said it is scary to be involved in a crash, or trauma, and then also be stuck miles from home without knowledge of resources. That's why the American Red Cross steps in.

"I would say their need is emotional support. I think it does a lot for any disaster survivor," said Nicholson.

Endsley Real, Mental Health Professional and Red Cross volunteer, further explained: "Our role is to let them know the response they are having is absolutely typical and they are going to be resilient."

The disaster action team met with patients Friday to assess their needs, both tangible and intangible.

"We provided assistance for lodging. And for some incidentals like a meal out or gasoline expense. Just some financial assistance that is meant to be just bridging the gap," explained Nicholson.

Jim Tudor, Disaster Action Team Caseworker, followed, "Some things were as mundane as helping them find their luggage." He said their main job is to listen to the patients and their families, then figure out what to do to get them what they need.

But support is also within Fulton County and South Fulton.

South Fulton is a new city, put to the test by this bus crash.

"We've been a city now for less than 2 months, but I saw what we can do when challenges like this come. We can bind together to help our friends and neighbors in times of need," explained South Fulton Mayor Bill Edwards. "I think the cities of South Fulton and the city of Huntsville will be joined immeasurably from now on, because we share a tragic incident."