1 minute readDisaster

Compassion After a Home Fire: These Are the Moments That Matter

Story and photo by Cindy Huge, an American Red Cross Public Affairs volunteer

A neighbor asked me where I was going at 10:30 p.m. My answer was “to help several people who just lost everything from an apartment fire.”

It is now 4 a.m., and I am home and wide awake (probably since I drank coffee at 11 p.m.), reflecting on the compassion I witnessed tonight.

I took this picture of my friend and fellow Red Cross volunteer, Janie D. Ramsey, as she provided a warm blanket and hug to a client who was shivering out in the cold.

This man had just lost everything he owned. All he could salvage from the fire was one small bag of clothes.

He cried when we told him we were there to help.

And in all honesty, I shed a few tears as well when he told me his nearest relative lived thousands of miles away, and before we arrived he could not think of anyone who would be able to help him.

These are the moments of my heart.

These are the moments that I am thankful to be able to leave my warm home to help complete strangers.

These are the moments when I can witness strangers helping other strangers in their greatest moments of need.

These are the moments that matter.

These are the precious moments of life.

Thank you to our donors who make it possible for us to help others when they are in need.

join the conversation.

We encourage you to comment on this blog. All viewpoints are welcome, but please be constructive. We reserve the right to make editorial decisions regarding submitted comments, including but not limited to removal of comments. The comments are moderated, so you may have to be a tiny bit patient in waiting to see them. We will review and post them as promptly as possible during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9:00 – 5:00). Please read our full comment policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. This is a very touching story. I just wish the Red Cross representatives here in Southeastern Wisconsin cared about the minority communities here in our city (Milwaukee) this way. Actually, it is quite the opposite where they are refusing to mobilize to our communities and provide relief to us with this new policy they just implemented, such as they did a young woman who lost everything in a 3 alarm house fire last night when they refused to help her. So kudos to this volunteer and please continue to help all.

  2. Hi Nasheka, the Red Cross responds to disasters 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24/7. We will always respond and help those impacted by home fires. Our partnership with the Milwaukee Police Department allows people impacted to know immediately where they can go to receive Red Cross assistance. By providing a physical location, families can meet with Red Cross teams in-person, get out of the elements, and receive assistance as soon as possible. Those affected also have the option to meet at the Red Cross office on W. Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee.