“I had always seen the Red Cross on TV, you know. The red vests, helping out communities all over the world after disasters. But I was introduced to them personally Father’s Day morning in 2018, when our apartment complex caught on fire. My eldest son ran in and said, “Mom, mom, you’ve got to get up, the apartment’s on fire!” It was so disorienting, but we got out.
We were standing out in the parking lot with all the fire trucks, just standing in our pajamas with none of our belongings, when we saw these people with red vests walking up the parking lot. I saw them talking with a couple of families so I went over, and their first question to me was, “Do you have a place to stay?” Our extended family all lives out of town, and though I work hard, I’m a working mom and I didn’t have a lot of extra resources that I could pay for an extended stay anywhere. So they asked us a few questions, and they got it set up so we could spend a week at a local hotel.
They made sure we were comfortable, they gave us gift cards that we could use for food, it was just remarkable. And I have renters’ insurance, but they only reimburse you after the fact – and a lot of people, they just don’t have the resources to spend $70, $80 a night to stay somewhere and then wait a few weeks to get reimbursed. SO the Red Cross being there to help was just incredible. Even after we were safe and home they followed up with multiple phone calls – just to make sure that we were in a safe place and things were going okay, and to see if they could assist us more. It was really just a remarkable experience.”