Monday, November 28, 2011

Help and Hope Delivered after Thanksgiving Fires

Thanksgiving was a tough day for several families across our region this year. However, the burdens faced by 5 families were made a little bit lighter through the help provided by local Red Cross disaster services volunteers.

In St. Albans, VT, 4 families lost their homes to an early morning fire on Lincoln Avenue. Five members of the Franklin County Disaster Action Team (DAT) responded, placing their own plans for the day on hold to help those in need. The DAT members opened the gym at St. Albans City Hall to provide a warm place for the displaced families and for the folks in the neighborhood who lost power for several hours that morning. The emergency needs of the 4 affected families was determined and help, including lodging and financial assistance for food and clothing, was provided as needed. DAT members also supported the first responders by having food and coffee at the scene.

Unfortunately, fire also struck in Newbury, VT, displacing a family of 3 early Thanksgiving morning. Members of the Upper Valley Disaster Action Team were called into action and provided assistance for food, seasonal clothing, and more. In response to both the St. Albans and Newbury fires, our disaster services volunteers were also sure to make referrals to state and community resources that would help each of the displaced families to take their next step in the recovery process.

All of this assistance was provided without charge to the families devastated by these fires. The support was available through the financial generosity of donors across our region and the generosity of time from our dedicated volunteers.

We are certainly thankful for all of our volunteers and the work they do throughout the year.

Monday, November 14, 2011

3 Fires in 3 Days

The past three days have shown the strength of our volunteer corps. In each of the VT & the NH Valley Region's three chapters, a Disaster Action Team (DAT) was called out to assist families displaced by fire.

Two families in St. Johnsbury, a mother and her two children in East Thetford and a family of 7 in Shaftsbury were all left homeless in the wake of three devastating fires in just a 72 hours. In response to each, a DAT team was in contact with the families and help provided.

The assistance, whether it is lodging or financial, is just a part of what disaster victims receive. The compassion, caring and understanding that the disaster services volunteers bring to their work is often just as valuable. In addition, the experience of our volunteers ensures that referrals are made to the appropriate local and state agencies, as well as other voluntary organizations, that will help the affected inviduals and families get back on their feet.

So, a big thank you to each of the responding DAT members and to all Red Cross volunteers who are ready to help their neighbors and communities.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Chance to Celebrate in Rutland

For 52 years, Rutland has thrown a Halloween Parade with costumes, floats and always a lot of fun. Despite being pushed back two days due to weather, this year's parade was no different.

What was unique about this year was the decision by parade organizers to say a special thank you to those who stepped up to help the people of Rutland County in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. Among those honored at the parade was the American Red Cross.

Praising the Red Cross volunteers, first responders, CVPS employees and others who were on hand to be recognized, Cindi Wight of the City Recreation Department said, “They went above and beyond. This is a way the community can give them a cheer and say thank you."

As those of you who read this Blog know, our volunteers are the very heart and soul of the American Red Cross. Often their work is done out of view of the public. The recognition of our volunteers, among other Irene responders, was an honor that was richly deserved.