• Archived Posts

Are You Prepared to Fend off Disaster Bullies?

Nobody likes a bully. They come in and seem to do whatever it takes to disrupt your life and make things difficult. In that respect, bullies and a disasters have a lot in common. They’re mean, aren’t too concerned about your feelings, and they can often come out of nowhere to cause chaos.

However, being prepared and knowing what to do when faced with a disaster bully can go a long way to help reduce the impacts to you, your home, and your loved ones.

September is National Preparedness Month, a month designated each year as a time to raise awareness and encourage individuals, families, businesses, and more to learn and understand your disaster risks and take the simple yet critical steps necessary to be prepared.


There are many who say if you are prepared for an earthquake, you are prepared for any disaster. Would you be ready for this bully to come along? You can be!


Flooding is among the most common disasters and each year often proves to be the most destructive and costly type of disaster across the country. As winter approaches, have you considered how prepared you are for the storms? Check out what you can do to be ready!


You may not know it as things have been relatively calm and collected this year along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, but we are smack dab in the middle of hurricane season. When the winds start swirling and the rain starts pouring down, make sure you have plans in place to keep your family out of harm’s way.


Tornadoes are among the most frightening disasters, not only for their destructive nature but also because they are so unpredictable. For those who live in areas at risk of tornado events, being prepared is an absolute must!

This September, make disaster preparedness a priority for you and your loved ones. The Red Cross has a ton of great resources to help you get started or give you a refresher! And join the National Preparedness Month conversation on Facebook and Twitter @RedCross to let us know how you’re doing using the hashtag #NatlPrep.

There’s no time like the present to get prepared!

Note: These videos were created to emphasize the importance of being prepared for disasters. They are in no way intended to minimize the devastating affects of disasters OR the seriousness of bullying, which affects thousands of people of all ages everyday.

The Surviving Survival Kit

My 7th grade academic year included, courtesy of a forward-thinking social studies teacher, a month-long unit on emergency preparedness. We researched different kinds of disasters, gave presentations on how to prepare for these disasters, and wrote papers about how to respond to the less serious and survive the potentially devastating.

Most memorably, however, we assembled our own survival kits and then put them to use in (what felt like) a vast forest on a cold, wet, November morning. Under adult supervision we built shelters, bandaged fictional wounds, started fires, and “survived” on the food and drink packed in our kits.

Fast forward 24 years… Last month, while visiting my parents in Wisconsin, my sister and I volunteered to clean out their garage. Hidden among piles of dusty, dirty sports equipment and gardening tools, tucked away on a top shelf, and still in its original waterproof Maxwell House coffee can, we found my survival kit.

When the garage project wrapped, I took the kit inside and dumped its contents out on the dining room table. Each item brought me back to that 7th grade project and prompted a discussion with my own elementary school-aged kids about why I chose to include it, given the limited real estate in my coffee can.



A large coffee can in which to pack all of my “tools”, as as well as a small coffee can for heating water over a fire.



A whistle, thermometer/compass combo, and flashlight with extra batteries.



A garbage bag (to use to build a shelter), an insulating blanket, and rolls of twine, string, fishing line, and wire.



Various first aid supplies, including gauze and bandaids.


My kit also held a needle and thread, a pocket knife, fishing hooks, an eye glass (for starting fires), bouillon and sugar cubes, tea bags, matches in a waterproof container, candles, and last but not least, $0.50 to make a pay phone call. (At this point I had to pause and explain pay phones to my kids.)

Impressively, because of what my teacher had taught us during the emergency preparedness unit, I had packed my kit in such a way that almost 25 years later nearly every item still had life – and the potential to save a life – left in it.

September is National Preparedness Month. At some point this month, set aside an afternoon, or even just an hour or two, to prepare your home and family by researching the most commonly occurring disasters in your area and assembling an emergency preparedness kit (or two!) according to your specific needs. Place your kits in your home and vehicle, and make sure everyone in your family knows where to find them.

Hopefully you’ll never need your kits. Perhaps you’ll find them 25 years from now, still stocked and ready to save a life, in the truck of your car or on a shelf in your garage. But if you do need your kits, that afternoon spent gathering flashlights, batteries, nonperishable foods, bottled water, and first aid supplies will have been well spent.

Click here for additional information about how to prepare your home and family for emergencies.

Katrina Volunteers – 10 Years Later


Ten years ago this week, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, fast becoming one of the most devastating natural disasters in U.S. history and triggering a nationwide disaster relief effort of an unprecedented scale. As this disaster unfolded before the shocked eyes of the country, thousands were driven to get involved and help in whatever capacity they could.

For many, Hurricane Katrina served as their first venture into volunteerism with the Red Cross. For others, it was a continuation of a life committed to service. A decade later, many of those who responded to help the Katrina-affected communities get back on their feet continue their volunteer service, providing compassion and comfort to those in need throughout the country. We asked them to share their stories from Katrina and their experiences over the last 10 years. Here’s what some of them had to say:

“When I first started working at the American Red Cross Puerto Rico chapter as Communications Officer, Katrina happened. I [didn’t] know how the chapter works, but immediately my partners at work show me the most important thing – how to give without being there. From the distance I collaborate doing like dozens of fundraisers events. Lots of people calling to asked how they can help. The feeling was amazing, exhausting, but amazing…I no longer work for the chapter, but thanks to the American Red Cross I know the humanity still exist. Thank for such amazing opportunity.” – Miguel Chinea, Puerto Rico

“It’s my 10 years as Hurricane Katrina inspired me to join! I’m in the Southern Tier Red Cross Chapter out of Endicott, New York! I just stay local! Been and worked [through] the floods of 2006 and 2011! I met many Red Cross workers from across the country through those floods but ’06 flood i worked and met the most!! I’m now doing home fire prevention and smoke alarm installs!!” – Dave Hitt, New York

“I began my Red Cross career after Hurricane Charley hit my state of Florida. I had been with the Red Cross for about three months when Katrina hit and I was deployed to Mobile, Alabama and then onto Bay St. Louie, Pass Christian and Waveland, Mississippi. I was assigned to an ERV [Emergency Response Vehicle] and handed out water, hot food and snacks to people who needed it. They were so grateful for anything we could give them and always had a smile for us when we came by. I still to this day cannot think about my time in MS without tearing up. It was a leap into the fire for my first deployment, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Just received my 10 year pin and good lord willing many more.” – Wendy Mitchell, Florida

“I began volunteering with Red Cross in 1969 during Hurricane Camille with my mother. During Hurricane Katrina I opened a shelter at Harrison Central Elementary School (MS) along with my sister. We lost our homes and had to stay at the shelter until it closed. We thank all of the volunteers that came to help. I will continue to volunteer with Red Cross. It is a privilege to help others in time of need.” – Verna Walker, Mississippi

“I was unaware  The American Red Cross would become my passion . Watching the Thailand 2004 Tsunami I cried…seeing the destruction water could leave behind. Time marched on until Hurricane Katrina while, in the warm comfort of my home with my family watching the news, seeing people and children on roof tops waiting for help, animals displaced and people dying my heart sank. I heard a public service announcement that the American Red Cross needs volunteers, I wrote down the number that day [and it] changed my life. Since that time I have become a Disaster Action Team captain in my home town, a Community Outreach Volunteer, and a regional biomedical ambassador. The American Red Cross has become a way of life for my family – from my niece and sister volunteering to my Grandchildren marching in parades assisting with events teaching them the importance of that red vest . I give my time and talent not because of any reward or prestige  , but because someone that has lost everything needs a helping hand.” – Robi Wall

“The relief work for Hurricane Katrina was stressful, exhausting, both physically and emotionally, and fraught with constant challenges and problems to solve, but it was also incredibly rewarding. Probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I feel very fortunate to have been able to have made a difference, to help care for people who have no place to live and no jobs to return to, and I am honored to have been part of the massive Red Cross volunteer efforts.” – John Burnap, Rhode Island (excerpt from a Providence Journal article John wrote in 2005 upon his return from serving at Katrina)

A lot has changed in the 10 years since Katrina. But the heart of Red Cross volunteers remains the same. As we reflect on a Katrina we also celebrate the spirit of compassion which led so many to selflessly serve those in need across the country each and every day. THANK YOU, RED CROSS VOLUNTEERS!!

Please continue to share your stories in the comments below!

Digital Art Expo: Kids Weigh in on Swimming and Lifeguarding

We asked kids in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade why they thought swim lessons and lifeguard training are important.

Check out how the kids showed their support and enthusiasm for swim lessons and lifeguard training – we love their drawings! (And don’t miss the latest on our training and certification for extreme shallow water rescue, especially critical for summer waterparks outings.)

Sarah – 2nd Grade


Sophie – 2nd Grade


Sophie – 2nd Grade


Alyssa – 3rd Grade


Hannah – 3rd Grade


Mia – 4th Grade


Noah – 4th Grade


Rachel – 4th Grade


Wyatt – 4th Grade

Intrigued? If any of the drawings above moved you to get trained, find more information on swimming courses and lifeguard training on redcross.org.

Why Blood Donors Are My Heroes

Post written by Joey Hoffman, mother of a blood recipient.

On February 8, 2003, my daughter, Daisy, received her first blood transfusion immediately after birth. It helped save her life – as did countless other transfusions over the years.

PastedGraphic-1 copyAt eight weeks in utero, Daisy was diagnosed with gastroschisis, a congenital condition in which her intestines developed outside of her body in the amniotic fluid. My OB-GYN stated that she would be OK. They would place her intestines back inside her abdomen, and she’d recover in the neonatal intensive care unit for two weeks.

Daisy lived in the NICU for seven months.

Daisy didn’t recover as her physicians anticipated, so two weeks after she was born, she returned to the operating room for exploratory surgery. What did they find? Most of her small and large intestines were necrotic, or dead. That night, cribside, she received more blood, helping to save her life once again. As a snowstorm raged outside, I watched each drop of blood flow into her tiny body, a four-hour process that ended at midnight.

As a first-time mom still recovering from my cesarean section, plus acclimating to New York City hospital life and the fact that my daughter’s life was in moment-to-moment jeopardy, I was on autopilot – praying, visualizing and feeling grateful that she was alive. It was hard to imagine that people we had never met donated their blood to help save a stranger’s life. PD (pre-Daisy), I had never received blood or given blood. I just knew that the American Red Cross was the revered, go-to organization that helps save lives around the world.

After she was discharged from the NICU, and after repeated complications, it became clear that my baby needed a transplant. When Daisy was 3 years old, we moved to Omaha, Nebraska. (As a consummate city gal, I didn’t know where Omaha was until months later when I looked on a map.) There she received a small bowel, liver and pancreas transplant – and more blood. Each year, we celebrate the anniversary of her transplant as her rebirthday.

Daisy has received so many blood transfusions I have lost count. Receiving blood was as common in our world as attending a “Mommy & Me” class was for a typical kid. Clearly, there was nothing typical about Daisy or our life. But no matter, she was alive! Seven months after the transplant, she was diagnosed with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder, a cancer of the immune cells, and received four months of chemotherapy and more blood.

PastedGraphic-2 copyEight years later, Daisy (or Tween as I call her) is a vivacious, sharp and – dare I say? – normal, 12-year-old, hyper-hormonal girl. She just returned from one month at sleepaway camp, got braces and is starting middle school. Her biggest worry is whether she’ll get into show choir – a far cry from the days when I didn’t know how much more time she would have with us.

Scores of heroes helped save my daughter’s life by sharing their blood with her. The Red Cross currently has an urgent need for blood donors of many types as well as platelet donors to help patients like Daisy.

Blood donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 

Moving forward in Carrefour-Feuilles, Haiti

This post was written by Michael de Vulpillieres, a member of the communications team at the American Red Cross Greater NY Region chapter. This past June, Michael traveled to Port-au-Prince to learn more about Red Cross programs in Haiti and to support the local Red Cross office. For more photos from Michael’s visit to Carrefour-Feuilles, click here.

Building supplies and construction equipment lined a newly-built road as I approached Campeche, one of the eight neighborhoods that comprises the community of Carrefour-Feuilles in western Port-au-Prince. It was about 7 a.m. and I was to spend the next few hours visiting one of the areas of the capital city most impacted by the 2010 earthquake.

My tour began in the narrow walkways of Campeche, accompanied my local colleagues proudly donning their Red Cross shirts. Area residents waved and smiled at us as my guides showed me around, pointing out countless projects along the way made possible by the American Red Cross and the partners we fund—retaining walls, latrines, repaired homes, foot paths, drainage systems, bridges, water points, schools and street lamps, just to name a few. Along with this work, my colleagues also indicated where new constriction financed by the American Red Cross—a health center, public squares, a soccer field, marketplaces and more water points—will soon break ground.

This infrastructure is critical in establishing a more functional and resilient community, in part because this poor area of Port-au-Prince was in desperate need of it even before the quake. Less than 40 years ago, this hill flanked by two steep ravines was sparsely populated. But the 1970s and 80s saw the population in Campeche and other parts of Carrefour-Feuilles skyrocket with a large influx of relatively poor residents moving here and building mostly makeshift homes. A fragile infrastructure barely followed suit and the zone quickly became one of the most densely populated and disaster-prone areas of Port-au-Prince.

So when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck on January 12, 2010, Campeche along with the rest of Carrefour-Feuilles was devastated. That’s why the American Red Cross and other groups designated this area as a priority zone for infrastructure and other community revitalization projects.

Today, local residents are leading the rebuilding effort here, with the help of organizations like the American Red Cross. The impact of such community improvement projects is obvious, but beneath the surface, beyond the bricks and mortar, Red Cross-funded youth, community preparedness, health and livelihoods programs are leaving their mark as well.

I spent the remainder of my morning with Achile, the manager of American Red Cross livelihoods programs in Carrefour-Feuilles. For two hours, he introduced me to half a dozen recipients of small business financing programs and village savings and loan associations (VSLA) made possible with American Red Cross support.

One of the individuals I met was Jeanneus Verdier, who joined a VSLA group in Campeche a year ago. As part of the group, neighbors pool their money over a nine month period and during this process provide loans to fellow members when needed for a small fee. Red Cross-funded partners empowered these groups with the training and other tools to make this lending possible. Verdier runs a local school and has used the money from two different loans to purchase cement for school repairs. He told me that without the loans, these improvements would not have been made. Verdier has since renewed his participation in the program.

My visit ended around noon, outside of Campeche in Post-au-Prince’s city center. Across a busy street from the national soccer stadium was the La Rencontre Restaurant, owned and operated for the last eight months by a young Campeche resident, Frantz Volma. After losing his job in 2013, Volma turned to an organization financed by the American Red Cross for a small-business loan to open his own restaurant. Today, the restaurant does brisk business; the best-selling item on the menu, “Poulet National,” the national chicken and rice dish of Haiti. As Vomar tells me with sense of relief on his face, “I don’t know where I would be without this loan.”

For more information about the American Red Cross’s ongoing work in Haiti, visit redcross.org/haiti.


If I can give blood, so can you.

Originally written by Vivi Engen, American Red Cross Intern, Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can find the original story here

Help prevent a seasonal blood supply shortage: A seasonal blood donation decline is common during the summer. Currently, the Red Cross has an urgent need for type AB blood to help replenish the plasma supply. Blood donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative and platelet donors are also especially needed to maintain sufficient supplies. For information about blood donation, or to schedule an appointment, download the Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

This is the story about my first time giving blood. I will not spare you the bloody details, because if I did, I would have nothing to write about.

Remember that five-year-old who went in to get her flu shot and needed five nurses (all wearing ear plugs to mute the screaming) to hold her down? Well, that was me. Over time, I have learned to brave getting shots but never fully outgrew the anxiety that comes at the sight of blood and needles. I studiously avoided offering my arm for 20 years, even though I’ve witnessed firsthand how important donating blood can be. I had to swallow hard to overcome that fear, and the good news is, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.img_8275

Monday, July 13, 2:15 p.m. rolled around much too quickly. A week after I had booked my appointment through the Blood Donor App, I found myself in the Red Cross blood donation center on the third floor at 1201 West River Parkway in Minneapolis. It was the ideal day to give blood. Outside was a blazing 89-degrees topped by an 83% humidity index, so even without giving blood, I felt sweaty and faint just from walking outside.


As I sat in the waiting room (which was comfortably air-conditioned), I sipped on my fifth Nalgene of the day. I realized that I had to use the restroom, again, and decided that I might have taken the recommendation to show up hydrated a little too seriously. My mom, who had agreed to give blood with me, was uncharacteristically late. (She later claimed that she took a wrong turn, but I know that she delayed her arrival because she was just as nervous as I was.)

With time to spare, I scanned the waiting room until my eye caught a poster that asked, “Why do you give?” My mind initially jumped to ‘because my boss suggested it would be a good idea’, but then I realized I had many reasons to give blood—reasons that trumped my fear of needles.

Blood donations help millions of patients in need. In fact, in the past few years, blood donations have helped some of the most important people in my life. My dad, handy man that he is, cut his foot open with a chainsaw a few years ago and he needed blood. This past ski season one of my best friends crashed into a tree and she needed blood. Even more recently, my grandfather died of leukemia. And while he was alive, he received blood transfusions that made him feel much better.img_8563

Finally, my mom arrived and both of us were invited back. After a short health history exam and another trip to the bathroom, the nurses began prepping me. But one thing was missing, my partner in crime (a.k.a. mom). A few minutes later, she came in to deliver some tragic news. She would not be able to donate blood today because she had traveled to the Dominican Republic earlier this spring. (The Red Cross has a list of eligibility requirements that blood donors must clear before they can donate, one of those criteria include not having traveled to the Dominican Republic in the past year. For a list of the Red Cross blood donation eligibility criteria click here.)

So I embarked on my blood donation solo. The nurse laid me down on my back in the middle of an open room that offered a great view of downtown Minneapolis. She explained that first-time donors must lie down as a safety precaution. I glanced around the room and noticed that everyone else was sitting up. Perfect, I was instantly labeled as the newbie.img_8564

I get chatty when I’m nervous, and the nurse happily obliged, making small talk while she prepared my arm. At one point I asked how many donors they usually receive at this location. She guessed that an average of 15 people a day show up. There were at least 15, if not more, donors in the room at this moment. Word must have spread that I made an appointment and people came to witness the tears and screaming.

Then came the moment I’d been dreading. The nurse told me not to look and slid the needle into my inner-left-elbow-crevasse (I don’t know how else to explain that spot on my arm). She did not stab or jab or pinch, she slid it into my arm. The needle entering was effortless, like it was meant to be there. OK that was an exaggeration, but it was manageable.

img_827412 minutes and 43 seconds later I was done, and to my surprise feeling good! I looked at the pint of blood that had just come out of my body. The nurse saw me eyeing the bag and told me that my donation could help save up to three lives. Three lives? I asked if I had heard her correctly. She nodded and I sat, recovering from what probably counts as the most heroic, if somewhat anti-climactic, 15 minutes of my life.

As I sat indulging myself, I scanned the donation room. There were business people on their way home from work, seniors reading newspapers, even a few students like me. Everyone was sitting up, which meant that they were all experienced donors coming back to save more lives. I knew that I too would be back, next time sitting up like the veterans surrounding me, to participate in one small deed that can make a world of difference.

So trust me: If I can give blood, so can you. And you’ll get a cookie.img_8261





Ten Years Later – Share Your Volunteer Experiences


This month marks ten years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast, launching an unprecedented disaster relief effort which stretched across the entire country. For many current Red Cross volunteers, Katrina served as their introduction to disaster relief and volunteerism, as thousands were inspired to join in the massive effort to bring comfort and aid to those impacted.

Ten years since Katrina marks the 10-year anniversary for many volunteers continuing to serve today, and we want to hear your story! Tell us about your first volunteer experience during Katrina, what inspired you to continue your service afterward, and what have your experiences been like since then? Don’t forget to tell us who you are and which Red Cross Chapter/Region you call ‘home’…though of course you may remain anonymous if you’d like.

Share your stories in the comments section of this blog OR submit them to socialmedia@redcross.org with the subject “My Katrina Volunteer Story”. We will compile many of the submissions to share on a follow up blog to be published later this month.

Thank you for sharing your stories and, most importantly, thank you for your continued selfless service!

Check out how disaster preparedness and response has changed in the 10 years since Katrina in this article by Red Cross CEO, Gail McGovern.

Centennial Campaign: Year 2 Swimmers Diving In

Post by Connie Harvey, Director of the Red Cross Centennial Initiative

I’m so proud of the Red Cross for honoring the organization’s 100-year history of teaching lifesaving and water safety in such a significant way with its Centennial Campaign. Now in its second year – still an early stage of the five-year quest to reduce drowning rates by 50 percent in 50 at-risk communities – I know that we are opening a world of opportunity for so many people as they learn to enjoy the water safely, and I am confident that the campaign is saving lives.

How It’s Working

Just 14 months since the launch of the campaign, the Red Cross is proud to announce 34 Centennial partnerships in more than 147 facilities and across 12 states. That translates to more than 12,750 additional kids and adults who are learning swimming and lifesaving water safety skills. I’m not sure who is more excited in the video below – the kids learning to swim or their adult instructors!

Our Partners

What makes the work of our Centennial partners so powerful is their willingness to go above and beyond. Overwhelmingly, our partners – state, city and county parks and recreation departments, YMCAs, Jewish Community Centers and community pools – were already running robust learn-to-swim programs. We came to them and asked if they would be willing to do more – and these partners said yes without hesitation.

As we get started with each partner, we brainstorm about how we can help overcome barriers that keep people from learning about water safety, an important life skill. We ask them to answer the question, “What would you do if you had no obstacles?” Many aquatics directors already have ideas in mind. And while every community is different and thus the approaches to the solutions are different, the ultimate goal is the same everywhere. We all want to make swimming lessons available in a safe environment, taught by qualified Water Safety Instructors, where participants are encouraged to return until they reach water competency.

Smiles for Swimming Successes

From the huge, proud smile on the face of a child who just swam unsupported for the first time in her life…

tmaya blog

Ta’Mya , 8 years old, beams with pride as she swims on her own for the first time.

To the tremendous sense of accomplishment of Elvin, age 11, who is now able to swim in the deep end with his friends…

To the Water Safety Instructor who is so proud to help children overcome their fears and sees the potential for their future…

We’re excited to see what smiles come around next summer!

Want to get involved? Learn more about water safety instruction and swimming classes, as well as the Centennial Campaign on redcross.org.


First Person Perspective – Red Cross Response in Saipan

The following was written by Julie Bradley of the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter. She has been a volunteer with the Red Cross International Response roster since 2010. She has deployed to Nepal twice, first in 2013 for non-disaster preparedness and most recently in April of this year as part of the Information Technology/Emergency Response Unit team during the first round of response immediately following the earthquake. She is currently in Saipan providing IT support in the wake of this month’s typhoon.


As I worked to install communications and computers for the American Red Cross disaster response in Saipan I heard a conversation that took me back 10 years. Here in post typhoon Saipan a woman in line for Red Cross assistance turned to the woman behind her,

“How’d you do?” she turned and asked.

“The roof and one car,” she answered.

“The roof, first floor and carport,” the first woman replied.


That conversation between two islanders took me back 10 years to 29 August, 2005. “How’d you do?” became a normal greeting after Hurricane Katrina, that storm of storms. Epic Katrina was also the driving force behind legions of Americans like Glen and me to step up for our first Red Cross disaster volunteer work. We spent the first weeks after Katrina helping my parents who had 21 feet of surge sweep through their waterfront home near Bay St Louis.

“The roof, and water up to the third shelf of the medicine cabinet on the second floor”, was their answer to “How’d You Do?” As we worked days and nights to shovel sludge and pile ruined belongings on the street curb for pickup we were fed and watered by upbeat Red Cross volunteers from all over the country; cheerful people who enjoyed their work and took genuine interest in our well being. We looked forward to the daily arrival of the volunteers driving the Red Cross food trucks; we knew their names, where they were from, and they knew a lot about us before we finished the massive cleanup at my parents.


Flash forward to today. Typhoon Soudelor is just as catastrophic to these islanders as Hurricane Katrina was to my family. As I walk down the streets of Saipan I see aftermath everywhere; downed trees blocking roads and crushed houses, roofs gone with makeshift tarps to block the daily rains, entire houses lifted from their foundations by microburst tornadoes. It can take your breath away. The size of Saipan may be small, but it makes up the entire world for the people who live, work and raise families here. Red Cross case workers work long, emotion charged  days to extend aid to the thousands of islanders who line up for food, water, medical and clothing assistance. The islanders are lovely, apologizing for putting us to the trouble as they enter their twelfth day with no power or sewage service.


Typhoon Soudelor was devastating, but forecasters give us some bad news; an entirely new Category Three typhoon may be heading our way.  I eye the three cases of communication equipment that Glen and I brought with us as checked baggage.   Will we have what we need for a second round of destruction? We keep our fingers crossed that the projected direct hit of these strong forces will be kinder and take the typhoon further out to sea.  It has been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, but as these typhoons in Saipan remind me, there is no shortage of disasters. Let’s all do what we can.

~Glen and Julie Bradley, Red Cross volunteers, Saipan

Julie and Glen Bradley

Julie and Glen Bradley