As the regional communicator for the Wichita, Kan. area, hurricanes aren’t something I normally have to worry about. In three days, I will have been through the landfall of a named storm twice.
Late last week, I was called to go on my first assignment as an advanced public affairs member to help support south Florida’s preparedness for Isaac. Teamed with a phenomenal veteran of the group, we helped stress the importance of getting a kit, making a plan and being informed. As Isaac continued to build in the Caribbean, it became increasingly clear it was headed right for our outpost – Key West. But when the storm traveled directly over us, it was a huge relief knowing so many Red Cross volunteers were in the gulf ready to help. Going to Florida knowing we made a difference was a phenomenal feeling, and I was getting ready to do it all over again.
The next day I was on a plane to leapfrog Isaac and be positioned in New Orleans. And while I’ll never forget my experience so far, it was equally memorable to see the flight attendant hug each one of the Red Cross volunteers getting on the plane for New Orleans. Red Cross was mobilizing and the American public was loving us for it.
Tonight in New Orleans as I ride out the landfall of Isaac for the second time in less than a week, the people who’ve greeted us with too many thanks to count, the beautifully diverse communities that have looked to Red Cross for hope, and the heartfelt testimonials people have given when they see our logo will forever be a part of me.
Advanced Public Affairs Team
August 28, 2012