1 minute readDisaster

A Surprise Thank You

Red Cross volunteers Gerry Holmes and Judy Sperling-Newton have traveled across the country many times to help people affected by large disasters. While attending a training, they were recently stopped by a stranger who recognized the Red Cross emblem on their clothing, and received a heart felt reminder that–whether large or small—the Red Cross is always there to help when disasters strike.

“Since that day we monthly give financial contributions to the Red Cross because there’s going to be someone every day that needs you all’s services… You all have been a blessing to me and my family.”

You might consider home fires a seasonal threat, only wreaking havoc inside when the world outside is frosty. However, the Red Cross responds to fires all year round – helping when an inferno strikes about every nine minutes somewhere across the country. Check out our Fire Prevention & Safety Checklist to learn more.

You can take the three simple steps to protect yourself and your family from emergencies today:

1. Get a kit
2. Make a plan
3. Be informed


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  1. Thanks for posting the video. The man’s story completely captivated us and the only thing we did was stop him and Judy asked if he would mind repeating it while we videoed it. He gave his consent and I held Judy’s iPhone while he talked to her… no prompting or editing;one take. What a nice guy!

    By Daniel Torres

    It all began during the 2005 Hurricane Season. While The Florida East Coast was being, hit by two major storms back-to-back, Hurricane Katrina and Wilma. At the time, I was home recuperating from leg surgery. I was watching the weather channel, which was covering the aftermath of one of the hurricanes, when a public announcement flashed on the bottom of the screen asking people to donate money to the American Red Cross. In addition, how they needed people to volunteer. I called the telephone hotline number given for donations. During my conversation with a volunteer, I was emotionally moved, listening to her tell me that beside donating money, people could also volunteer at any of the local ARC chapters… I explained to her that I was retired and disable with complications. However, would like to help anyway I could… She suggested that I go to my local chapter and register as a volunteer. Two days later, I decide to sign up. The rest of my story is history.

    Since 1993, I was going through a series of leg operations, due to injuries sustained while working. The injuries eventually led to me becoming, disable and forcing me to retire early. I had become a professional patient, having had over 15 operations and counting. My world began to consist of a series of countless physical therapy sessions, rehab clinics and more surgeries. Deep inside my heart, I knew that I wanted my life back. I needed something that would take me away from all the health problems that I had been dealing with all these years. During times of utter hopelessness, I would find myself praying to God, begging him to send something my way to give me a reason to go on…. Soon thereafter, I thought on how lucky I had been with all my injuries that were serious and could have left me cripple. I knew then the ARC was my calling.

    The Death of my Twin Brother Diego

    On April 12, 2011, I lost my twin brother to a terminal illness. His lost affected my life. Although, I was mourning this great lost, I was preparing for deployment to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the capacity of Shelter Supervisor. On April 27, 2011, due to the many Tornadoes that destroyed communities and yes at a time in my life when I needed all the positive support I could get, the ARC was there. I Thank God everyday for giving me the opportunity to serve the mission and to help disaster victims. Being able to help other was a blessing in disguise and continues to be a blessing in my life today. I also speak on behalf of the many volunteers I have met throughout the years with the ARC. We love volunteering, we love meeting and helping others and believing in the American Red Cross’ mission, created to help our fellowmen in times of need, and in times of disaster.

    Clara Barton, American Administrator, from 1812 thru 1921 who also did battlefield relief work during the Civil War, organized the ARC in 1881 with the following concepts:

    • Voluntarism: The use of or reliance on voluntary action, acting, serving, or done willingly and without constraint or expectation of reward.

    • Supported: By contributions or charitable donations rather than by Governments appropriations.

    • Volunteer: A person who offers to perform a service of his or her own free will… Contributing ones time without pay, uncompensated.

    I truly believe that if Clara Barton were alive today and witness the misguidance and how corrupt her beloved organization has become, she would properly fire allot of them, and simply start all over again… The ARC of today, has come to symbolize nothing more than an organization of Greed, self-serving and completely out of touch with its people and purpose. For many who work and volunteer for the American Red Cross, corruption has become the norm; it is marked by dishonesty, especially in matters of public trust. Ruthlessly seeking personal advantages by many of its directors and supervisor. For many of us we believe it has departed from what is legally, ethically and morally correct…

    Because of the ARC and its global humanitarian, mission (GHM) my life and the life of so many others volunteers have changed for the better. This is why I have made it may mission to fight against all the injustice and corruption that now plaques the ARC of today.

    My father once told me, that if you do nothing about a bad situation, and allow it to persist. You eventually become part of the problem. There is nothing greater than being able to help your fellowmen. We are our brother’s keeper.

    In the darkest hour of my life, the ARC was there for me…. Thank you Clara Barton!