“It’s so fun to be in the field working…I just love the diversity of American Red Cross people!!! We come from all walks and stations of life to help people in need,” shares Mary.
However, I’m the “Staff Services” person who gets disaster workers ‘deployed’ when national disasters are happening. In August, we are typically busy deploying people to hurricane areas but without a tropical storm in site, I was able to ‘deploy’ for a local fire! I worked two shelter shifts with many of the members I frequently call for national assignments. Many times, I’m just a ‘voice’ but now they know me by face! The Tamarack Apartment fire displaced 11 people for an extended time.
Barb Huber and I from the Dodge County Disaster Action Team drove to Milwaukee for our first shift on Monday. The clients (what we call people displaced by disasters) and Red Cross staff were in one large room with a few privacy partitions. A week later, I returned to a different shelter site for what was the final day of this shelter operation. This shelter had multiple rooms and clients had more private rooms. Most of the clients, all disabled, remembered me! Bobbie’s hair, a big concern at the first shelter, had been styled and looked great. Henry spent much of the morning calling his insurance provider to obtain renter’s insurance. He was successful and very pleased with coverage provided. The first payment was made from the shelter. The clients had a 1:00p.m. meeting with the Tamarack Apartment managers and we attended too as their next steps to recovery were set in motion. The apartment managers thanked all of us Red Cross workers! They truly appreciated our keeping their residents safe and secure while they developed a more permanent residential plan until the apartments are restored.
Overall, our Red Cross community came together to staff three different shelters for ten days. The Staff Services ‘call-down team’ consists of Nancy Johnson, Jane Lazarevic, Melinda Wall-Piraino and me. With multiple fires and growing number of people needing help, Nancy took the lead on watching National Deployments opportunities i.e. flooding in Detroit. So locally, Jane was the Lead Recruiter and I was her co-worker. Our main task was to find trained shelter workers; a Supervisor and two Service Associates for three shifts. Other Group Leaders worked the phones to staff the Feeding, Mental Health, Health Services, Logistics, Public Affairs and more. It takes many skills to fill the needs of our community.
It was such a good feeling to see how our Red Cross team works together as a unit to serve clients. Disasters are awful for anyone but this was a very special group and we came together big time! My best take away is that I placed faces to all those names I call. And, will call again.
If you would like start volunteering for the American Red Cross start your journey here!
Filed under: Disaster Services, General, Health and Safety, Preparedness, Staff, Volunteer | Tagged: Apartment Fire, Disaster Action team, Disaster Relief, Disaster Services, Fire, Red Cross shelter, Red Cross Volunteer, Red Cross Volunteers, volunteer | Leave a comment »