Red Cross volunteer shares experience from the front lines

Friday Sept. 17th  I was in Athens, Ohio (The Plains) doing damage assessments after tornadoes devastated the area. As we were walking down the street, we were approached by a man who asked if we could check on an elderly neighbor (she was 89 yrs. young). He said that he had checked on her after the storms hit but didn’t know if anyone had checked on her that day. We assured him that we would head over to her right away.

We walked over and knocked on the door. We identified ourselves as Red Cross workers and said that we just wanted to make sure she was ok. She assured us that she had food and water, told us she had fallen earlier but that she was ok; she had her emergency call button which she wore around her neck and her phone still worked. Her nurse had been there that morning and had since left, but her niece was coming over later. We asked her if it would be ok for us to get her name and phone number so that we could give it to the fire dept. across the street. I knew that they would check on her later and wasn’t sure we would get back to that area.

On Sunday I was in our Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle delivering food to residents still cleaning up, when our team ended up back in that part of town. When I knocked on the door she greeted us with a smile and told us that her power had been restored. I was also able to drop off a hot meal, which she was very appreciative of. I could tell on her face that this 89-year-old woman, a nearly complete stranger, was so happy that we had remembered her and had come back to see her. She thanked us for coming and told me that she, “loved us for taking care of her”.

That moment made me realize how important it was that we Red Crossers there and helped me see that we really were making a difference in people’s lives that day. I know there aren’t usually “highlights” during a disaster, but that was definitely one for me.

-A Proud Red Cross Volunteer

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