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Relief Workers Provide Help with Pentagon Attack Cleanup - 2001-10-03

Workers at the Pentagon continue to clean up the debris in the aftermath of the terrorist attack there. Relief organizations have set up operations in the parking lot to provide them with food and other supplies.

Red Cross volunteer Belle Clark said, "We have guys that are working over there, coming over here, and they're thanking us. And it's kind of amazing because they're the ones doing all the work."

The spirit of camaraderie outside the Pentagon is strong. Restaurants, church groups and relief organizations are feeding, clothing and providing comfort to the thousands of workers.

Most of the people helping them are volunteers who came from across the United States. Many took time off from work to do whatever is needed.

Medical doctor Liz O'Shaunessy from Maryland is handing out clothing to the workers, including boots and socks which wear out quickly. "We still have a ton of orders to fill for boots," she said. "A lot of the ladies haven't gotten their boots."

The American Red Cross spearheads the relief operation at the Pentagon. Walt Mikols is the coordinator. He said, "If they can walk away from here and say, boy, when I needed something, an organization was there to service me. When I needed a cold drink they were there, when I needed sunglasses they were there, when I needed sunblock they were there, when I needed a towel someone was there."

The people who are receiving are also giving. One soldier asks volunteer Belle Clark what he can donate. "We can always use socks," she said. "If we get long sleeve T-shirts we can always use long sleeve T-shirts." Soldier "You can use long sleeve T-shirts and sweatshirts."

But more than people require support. Cindy Robinson, who works on disaster relief for the Red Cross, says the rescue dogs also need caretaking. "Between the dog foods and biscuits and the beds and the crates, the backpacks for them, they need booties to protect their feet the dogs suffer as much as the humans there and we need to take care of them because they're working just as hard," sh said.

The relief area operates around the clock and the volunteers work long hours. They also provide first aid and make huge amounts of food, like Wade Carter, a member of a church group from North Carolina who is cooking potatoes in a tub.

Deborah Block: "Are you the cook at home?"

Wade Carter: "No ma'am. If wouldn't let her know if I was. If I told her what I was cooking here, she don't believe it."

Popular fast food restaurants are also feeding people. Rick Hoff runs several McDonalds restaurants. "We get lots of smiles," he said, "a lot of 'thank yous' just for providing a hot meal. And being there for them."

Construction worker Sherman McCall has been employed at the Pentagon for a number of years. Now he's helping to clear rubble from the crash site. Mr. McCall said, "I've seen my share of bodies the last couple of days but I guess, as an ex-military [man] of a long time, I guess I got a little bit used to that years ago. Well, you really never get used to it, but you know, I knew what to expect."

Professional therapists like Lisa La Due from Iowa are also there, ready to talk with and listen to anyone working at the site. "We get little pieces [of information], she said, "and then they might talk, and then they've got to go, you know, and they might come back, may give another piece [of information]. And I think that's sort of their way of coming to grips with it."

Terri Sandy, a loan officer at a bank, says she's glad she can volunteer her time to help those who are working so hard after the tragedy. "I hope I'm giving some comfort to them," she said. "Any special needs that they have. It's my job. That's what I really love to do."

Amid the flurry of activity, people can also go to places of quiet and comfort a tented chapel to meditate or pray and an area where they can get a massage after a hard day's work.