By Kira Froese and Courtney Wilson, Canadian Red Cross
We met many of our American Red Cross friends this past May when they joined us to help during the Alberta wildfires in Canada, and we jumped at the opportunity to head south of the border to assist residents of North Carolina, following devastating flooding from Hurricane Matthew.
From the moment we arrived in Goldsboro, we were warmly welcomed as extended members of the American Red Cross family. Too many times to count, staff and volunteers came up to express how thankful they were that we were there from Canada. Some had traveled much further than us to be there (including Alaska!), and some had experienced this disaster in their own back yards – we were the ones that were grateful to be able to lend a hand in this time of need.
We spent time visiting shelters, and were inspired by the strength and optimism of the North Carolinian people. Bill Dixon, a 74 year old flood affected individual, reminded us with a twinkle in his eye “Your ATTITUDE determines your LATITUDE providing your share your GRATITUDE”.
Yanci was almost 40 weeks pregnant when she was displaced from her home, and days later welcomed her beautiful baby boy, Jacob into the world. Under these incredibly difficult circumstances, Yanci remained excited for the future with little Jacob.
Our shelter visit with therapy dogs Cooper and Nathaniel made us fast friends with Anayensi and Maria. These sisters didn’t leave our side from the minute we arrived at the Kinston shelter, and we won’t soon forget their bright, smiling faces.
When we weren’t visiting shelters, we were busy working at the Goldsboro headquarters alongside our American and Canadian Red Cross counterparts. When our fellow Canadian, Angelo was presented with the “challenge coin” for his tireless work, we couldn’t help but beam with Canadian pride!
From experiencing the southern hospitality of North Carolinians, to meeting American Red Crossers from near and far, our time in North Carolina was unforgettable. We were truly honored to meet and learn from so many dedicated Red Crossers from across the country, and many new faces turned into many new friends.