Bishop Kenny student weathers storm as Red Cross volunteer

Bishop Kenny student weathers storm as Red Cross volunteer
Connor Sidman helps at a Red Cross hurricane shelter

Bishop Kenny High School Senior Connor Sidman responded to an email call for volunteers from Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry just two days before Hurricane Irma came through northeast Florida.

After attending a two-hour training program, Connor, a City of Jacksonville lifeguard, signed up to help at an American Red Cross hurricane shelter in Florahome, located in Putnam County. Within the first hours of opening, the shelter enrolled over 100 evacuees of all ages.

Volunteers were in short supply. After a 12-hour shift, no additional volunteers were scheduled to relieve the Red Cross workers. Sidman left to get a change of clothes and a sleeping bag, agreeing to return to the shelter the following morning.

Sidman, an Avondale resident, spent the next 30 hours through the storm providing shelter services in the facility. “I even had an opportunity to put my Spanish to good use because many of the people at the shelter were Spanish speaking,” he said.

Sidman’s mother, Peggy, an attorney for the City of Jacksonville, also worked at the shelter keeping the children occupied by organizing games and helping in any of the other ways that volunteers were needed.

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