Joanna Ross, Volunteer Helps Raise Much Needed Funds

Having worked as a loan officer with Residential Finance Corporation (RFC) for over 4 years, I’ve seen the company go above and beyond in supporting their employees. This past December RFC demonstrated their support and generosity through sponsoring the RED EVENT for the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus. I planned the event to raise funds and awareness for a cause that I am extremely passionate about: the Red Cross’ alleviation of local disasters like home fire.

When I’m not at the office, I am on call as a volunteer leader for the local Red Cross chapter Disaster Action Team (DAT). I’ve been to dozens of fires over the past 6 months and assisted over 100 locals, but there one night in particular made me realize how impactful local sponsorship of Red Cross causes really is. 

On a weekday in January four inches of snow blanketed the city by 4pm. An hour later I received a call to assist at an apartment fire.  When the DAT team arrived on the scene, we saw the extreme damage of the fire.  Local news crews were everywhere and the apartment residents were standing outside shaking with cold. We immediately got them into the warmth of the disaster services vehicle and the story of the fire unfolded. 

The two elderly people had just finished dinner when their kitchen burst into flames.  One individual managed to grab a coat and shoes, the other had to run out in shorts and flip-flops. One by one neighbors he hardly knew offered him clothing.  Everything was destroyed.  House keys, clothing, food and  irreplaceable family photos were forever lost.   We made arrangements for shelter at a local hotel and provided them with money to replace clothing, food and items they needed until a caseworker at the Red Cross chapter could help them further. 

On our drive to the hotel, I overheard one tell the other, “Keep your mind strong, that’s the most important thing.  A few hours ago we thought we might die or end up living on the streets.  We had no idea people cared so much.”  This was not only one of the most humbling experiences of my life , but it was also a reminder that a community’s responsibility is to support each of its members. The funds donated by RFC helped Red Cross do our job that night.  I am so proud to work for a company that supports the work of the Red Cross in our community.

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