By: American Red Cross
“I think anyone who responds to a home fire in their own community as a Red Cross volunteer will be deeply impacted by the experience. In my case, I remember assisting a young woman whose home was severely damaged while she had been at work. Everything she owned was in her apartment, and it was too dangerous for her to go back in to retrieve anything that may have survived the fire. The firefighters brought some of her family’s belongings out in black plastic bags. Just as she was dealing with this, her son arrived off the bus from middle school.
Watching this mom tell her son their home was gone, and she did not know where they would stay that night will never leave me. The son comforted his mother and reassured her that they would be all right, while tears streamed down his mom’s face. The sun was setting, and I covered the boy, who was shivering in a blanket. I was able to issue immediate financial assistance to this family and provide information about lodging and recovering from a fire. I told them about the Red Cross caseworker who would contact them within the next day or two and offered the family counseling and spiritual care services.
When I returned home, I reflected on how fortunate I was to be able to help another person in an hour of great need and distress. There’s nothing quite like that experience, whether you are responding to a fire, weather disaster or any other type of emergency.”
Tracey Scheer is a Red Cross volunteer who served as a Disaster Action Team member before going on to support the Information and Planning team in her region and on the national level during disasters. Like Tracey, you can give hope to those impacted by disasters in your community. Learn how: https://rdcrss.org/3fNixgD