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Red Cross volunteer counselor from WNY deployed to Las Vegas

The American Red Cross is deploying crisis counselors to Las Vegas in the wake of Sunday's shooting.

Buffalo-area counselor Tara Hughes, a licensed clinical social worker, was readying to board a flight to Las Vegas from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport Monday.

Hughes – who was sent by the Red Cross to assist victims of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012 – said a multidisciplinary team was being dispatched in the aftermath of the Las Vegas incident.

"My job will be to work specifically in that family assistance arena. So it's specific to the families of people were victims and the families of the victims, but we will have other mental health, spiritual care people out in the community working with people who live in Las Vegas and those who happen to be there vacationing," Hughes said.

"We'll be offering help to as many people as we can throughout that process," she said.

The Red Cross volunteers, who will be working with the city of Las Vegas and local agencies, are highly trained to assist people in coping under the stress of such highly public tragedies, Hughes said.

"For situations like this, we tend to screen people a little more carefully because there is an emotional toll that comes with it," she said.

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