American Red Cross Brings Hope after Disaster
At 10:00 pm on Wednesday night, residents ran out of their condos with flames and smoke close behind them. In a few intense minutes, 60 residents were displaced from their homes. Luckily they all escaped with their lives, but not much else. Some were able to take shelter for the night with friends and family. But by the time our partners at the American Red Cross arrived on scene a short time later, there were still 30 people standing on the sidewalk watching their whole world burn to the ground.
ARC employees worked quickly to identify everyone who was affected, assess their situation and start offering assistance. One employee said, “After a trauma, people are so immobilized that the Red Cross is there to get people putting one foot in front of the other.” The Red Cross arranged lodging for those who had no place to go and gave them comfort kits that include basic necessities. Each resident is connected with a Red Cross case worker who will be with them every step of the way on their long journey of rebuilding their lives.
A day and half later, I was able to visit the scene with the ARC and give them a check on behalf of 4Change Energy customers. While there, I gained an appreciation not only for the total loss that victims of a fire experience, but for all the Red Cross does to help them rebuild and keep moving forward. As we pulled up I saw caution tape blocking entry to a building that seemed to be barely standing. As we walked up the stairs and stood outside the front door of one condo, I tried to imagine what it must have been like for those who lived inside to run out that door and down the stairs while everything they owned burned just steps behind them.
I asked two security guards stationed at the building what they were most concerned with and they said, “Keeping looters away and making sure residents don’t try to get back into their condos to get their stuff and get hurt in there.” A few minutes later one resident showed up with a suitcase and I could tell she was barely able to keep her composure while she asked, “Will I ever have a chance to go in and get my clothes?” Security had to tell her, “There’s a big hole in your floor. I’m sorry, I can’t let you in.”
One ARC employee told me, “There’s a whole psychology behind how people function in a situation like this. It’s fight or flight and people are only thinking about getting out. They’re not thinking about getting things they’ll need later.” The night of the fire, one resident told an ARC employee, “I’m supposed to be to work in three hours and I don’t have any clothes to wear. All I have is my pajamas.” So Red Cross case workers work with people after a disaster like this to start replacing all the necessities that people have spent a lifetime accumulating.
Imagine if you don’t have your wallet with money, credit cards, insurance cards, identification or your phone with all your contacts in it. Would you know how to go about replacing all those things? What about social security cards, birth certificates, prescriptions, glasses/contacts, or medical equipment? Those are just a few of the things the Red Cross helps disaster victims with.
Spending a half an hour in the aftermath of this disaster helped me understand that the American Red Cross does more than respond to disasters – they help people rebuild their lives. This experience gave me a whole new appreciation for 4Change Energy’s partnership with the American Red Cross. It also gave me a renewed appreciation for all of our customers who support our mission to help Texan’s in great need. Without thousands of big-hearted customers, 4Change would not be able to fulfill our mission.
Thank you to our customers and thank you to our partners!
Jackson is a digital film and video production/social media specialist that not only enjoys those roles as a job but as a hobby as well. In his free time Jackson creates videos for his YouTube channel about his passions in auto culture.