by Christa Lollis
Rita and Katrina wreaked havoc on East Texas damaging the area and sending evacuees into several shelters throughout the region. Through it all the Red Cross was there, but now funding issues are concerning the county judge, Wes Suiter. He explains, "We've come to rely on them as part of our emergency operations plan and sheltering so it would be a big blow, a major blow for our plan if they were to shut their doors this time of year if we did have a major storm come through."
The Lufkin Red Cross assured KTRE that their doors won't be closing but there could be cuts. The national Red Cross has a 209 million dollar debt that's tightening the budget. "We depend on our national organization to help support us so with our house fires, the flood we had in San Augustine, those type of things we do receive funding to help cover the costs for what we're short on the local level," Glenna Harkness with the Red Cross in Lufkin said. National budget cuts will hurt Lufkin if there is a disaster. "We are a sheltering hub and one of the 6 evacuations sites designated in the state of Texas," Suiter said.