Utah Red Cross volunteers making a difference in Las Vegas

Utah Red Cross volunteers making a difference in Las Vegas (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) As families deal with the loss of their loved ones, volunteers from the American Red Cross are essential to the process.

Utah has sent staff and volunteers to Las Vegas where they'll stay for at least two weeks, playing a part in helping people heal.

"This is a very big event," said Linda Walsh-Garrison, a volunteer from Salt Lake City who arrived Tuesday. "It affects people physically, spiritually, emotionally."

The Red Cross aims to help people in each of those areas. Walsh-Garrison, who has deployed with the Red Cross for years, specializes in the spiritual side -- helping people make sense of tragedy.

"Just processing how could this happen, why did it happen, why now," said Walsh-Garrison. "So many questions."

These are questions Walsh-Garrison admits may never be answered, but she said it's important to try.

"If you have a way to sort out your questions, then you can get grounded again," she said.

The Red Cross has stayed busy this year, moving from one tragedy to another. This one -- which, as of Tuesday afternoon, left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured -- is especially difficult.

"I expect that there's going to be a long healing process on this," said Walsh-Garrison.

But for staff and volunteers, it's what they do.

"We're here, we're able, and we're ready," said Rich Woodruff, spokesman for the American Red Cross of Utah.

Woodruff said one of the best ways to help in the effort is to donate blood. To find a blood drive near you, visit

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