As a massive wildfire raged, the global Red Cross network stepped up efforts to help people in need. American Red Cross staff members and volunteers started arriving in the country on May 11. They are helping families at the request of the Canadian Red Cross, who has been leading relief efforts since the wildfire broke out on May 1.
The disaster has forced more than 88,000 residents of Fort McMurray and surrounding areas to leave their homes in search of safety. The fire has destroyed approximately 2,400 buildings—including homes—and has spread to an area of more than 500,000 acres. When people were evacuated, they left not knowing if they would have a home to go back to.
This past weekend, one of our very own volunteers from the Ohio Buckeye Region, Pam Blum, returned from a three week deployment in Canada where she witnessed firsthand how sincerely we carry out our mission here at the Red Cross.
“The experience in Canada was awesome,” stated Red Cross volunteer, Pam Blum, Ohio Buckeye Region. “Everyday someone came up to me and asked how I was doing, how was my day and was everything ok with a great smile. It was such a good feeling to be around such kind, respectful caring volunteers and staff. They are like a second family.”
Pam was inspired to join the Red Cross after viewing a poster which included a photo of a Red Cross volunteer delivering disaster relief out on the field. She recognized this as her calling and knew it was time to make a difference in her community.
Blum originally lived in Northern Michigan, which is an area with limited volunteer opportunities. As soon as she relocated to Circleville, she immediately joined the Red Cross and began training for the Disaster Services department to assist with the horrible destruction left behind by Hurricane Katrina.
Blum passionately recommended deployment as a fantastic means of becoming an active volunteer with the American Red Cross. She explained that although the people you help are unable to give you anything in return, their smiles, many thanks and grateful hugs are more than adequate.
To become a part of our Disaster Services team and receive the chance to get deployed to other areas to aid with Disaster Relief, visit http://www.redcross.org/volunteer/volunteer-opportunities/disaster-volunteer!