For the last week, every single time I turned on the evening news I came face-to-face with stories about and images related to Hurricane Isaac. In the days leading up to the storm’s arrival, coverage focused on weather predictions and evacuation plans. After Isaac made landfall, coverage transitioned to updates on rainfall totals, wind speeds, and the status of the levy and pump systems. As soon as the worst of the weather had passed, newscasters spoke of the rescues, as well as the hundreds of thousands without power and the unknown number without shelter, food, clothing, and medicine.
For the last week, every single time I turned on the evening news I came face-to-face with stories about and images of American Red Cross volunteers. In the days leading up to the storm’s arrival, volunteers were preparing to transport supplies and travel to the Gulf Coast. After Isaac made landfall, volunteers were setting up and staffing shelters, providing basic necessities to those who had fled their homes with no more than the clothes on their backs. As soon as the worst of the weather had passed, volunteers were in the field, assessing storm damage and providing water, food, and comfort kits to those who’d stayed behind.
Every single time I turned on the television, American Red Cross volunteers were there, generously giving their time, sharing their skills, and offering what those who just lived through this traumatic event needed most: shelter, water, food, clothing, medicine…and hope.
So today I simply want to say thank you. To the American Red Cross volunteers who answer the call, and leave behind their own lives – their families, friends, jobs, and homes – for weeks at a time, to lift up fellow human beings in their time of need.