RED CROSS TAPS LG COUNSELOR FOR HELP IN NEW YORK

September 13, 2001 11:00 pm

By Alice Perry Linker

Observer Staff Writer

Aylee Welch doesnt know what shell find when she arrives in New York today.

Ive been told theres no lodging, no services, nothing, she said Thursday as she completed her travel plans.

Welch, a licensed mental health counselor, is headed for an American Red Cross shelter in New Brunswick, N.J., just across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan. She has volunteered to spend the next 12 days counseling and supporting Red Cross workers as they provide assistance and shelter to victims of the World Trade Center attack.

I want all my friends to send me energy while Im there, Welch said.

The La Grande resident has been trained by the Red Cross to serve during disasters. She said she has often been asked to help, but shes never gone to a disaster scene, believing that her clients in Union County needed her more.

This time the calls were urgent, she said. I fell this is what Id prepared for.

While in the Red Cross shelter, Welch will lead crisis debriefing groups and assess volunteers as they return from the devastated areas into their normal lives.

Ill try to do anything that comes up in the shelter, she said.

Explaining the importance of counseling the Red Cross volunteers, Welch said, If we prioritize the care for the workers, it will filter down in a good way.

In addition to running a private counseling service, Welch is a counselor with the Health Network for Rural Schools, working with students in the North Powder and Union school districts. She is a violinist with the Grande Ronde Symphony and Quartet Dolce.