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They welcomed us with open arms


Red Crosser Kate Meier is currently deployed to help with Hurricane Irene in North Carolina. This is a story of a couple she met this morning at one of our shelters.

Jennie and Robert Culpepper sought refuge in an American Red Cross shelter as the outer rings of Hurricane Irene were already dropping rain on their truck. “Our clothes all got soaked,” Jennie said as she laid shirts and pants across cots to dry. “We got in late last night and they welcomed us with open arms.”

The couple has lived in the Outer Banks, NC, their entire lives. They have seen multiple hurricanes and most times opted to weather the storm in their homes. “We decided to evacuate this time because we had both the President and the governor telling us to leave,” Robert said.

“I had to evacuate because I have an injury that keeps me from moving quickly,” Jennie said. “We needed to be safe.”

So the couple packed up their truck and headed inland, where they eventually settled at a shelter in Wilson, NC, where they say they aren’t taking the volunteers’ kindness for granted. Jennie said she has been helping around the kitchen, ensuring there is plenty of hot coffee as the rain and winds pick up outside, and Robert has helped to take out the trash. “We feel like where the Red Cross has opened up and helped us we could help in any way we could help up by volunteering some time,” Jennie said.