Two sisters reconnect through Red Cross program
Wars, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and poverty — having plagued humanity for centuries — sadly continue to be part of our heritage today. The terms are synonymous with death, destruction, and the displacement of millions. But in spite of everything, there is still HOPE, manifest in the work of a humanitarian organization that lights the way amid the darkness.
By Samar M. Salma
Tamara is holding a cherished photo of herself, her late husband Oleg, and their daughter, Natalie. (Photo: Samar M. Salma)
From 1941 to 1944, the Germans subjected Leningrad, the former capital of Russia known today as “Saint Petersburg,” to one of the longest and most destructive chapters of World War II. Historians believe that the Siege of Leningrad — occurring over a nearly 900-day period — resulted in the deaths of up to 1.5 million soldiers and civilians and the evacuation of another 1.4 million people, mostly women and children. Read more
During the devastating Northern California fires this past October, every person who fled their homes — and in many cases, lost them — has a story to tell. So do the many Red Cross people who heroically stepped up to help in response to one of the most destructive weeks of fires in the state’s history.
Read our 2017 California Wildfires Six-Month Stewardship Report
A note from Stephanie Willett, Regional Director, Development Operations & Foundations:
I’m summarizing the attachments as slightly tricky to read.
A lovely note from Kyra Janssen in Santa Rosa. A gentleman gave Kyra a “fire discount” on a new coffee table. She’s working to “recreate a new home” after hers was destroyed on October 9th last year in the North Bay Fires. He also offered to make a gift to an organization of her choice. She asked him to make a gift to the Red Cross.
The note was sent with a $50 check to us – and with thanks to the Red Cross from both of them.
As our recovery work on multiple California wildfires continues, and as we jump with energy into supporting relief operations for so many impacted by the current storms – I’m so moved by this note, sent almost a year after Kyra lost her home. To me, this note speaks to the incredible strength of our Red Cross team and the enduring impact of our work for so many people.
This story was originally published September 27, 2015.
By Eric Maldonado, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross
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The Rodriguez family hadn’t even finished unpacking their apartment on Barnes Street in Middletown less than a week after they moved in.
On a hot Saturday afternoon, the family’s youngest child Danna didn’t want to take a nap and started to cry. Big sister Pricilla, 13, took Danna for a stroll outside in her little blue push car. But when they stepped outside, Pricilla knew something was very wrong. The sky was dark with what at first looked like rain clouds, but she quickly realized it was something much worse. Read more
Below are the contents of a letter sent to our offices by a grateful recipient of Red Cross services during the North Bay wildfires. They asked to remain anonymous but were happy to share their perspective.
June 27, 2018
Dear Red Cross Angels,
When the fire devoured [my home], it vaporized every vestige of my life, including my very identity-and it nearly vaporized me. I escaped, barefoot, with only seconds to spare. As I approached the Veterans Memorial Hall, at around 4:30 AM., I was struck by the realization that, for the first time in my adult life (at age 77), I was utterly helpless and at the mercy of strangers. For a man who had always felt extremely strong, capable, and independent, it was a shock, and I was apprehensive about what might lie before me. Read more
by Patricia Kemp, Red Cross volunteer
For residents evacuated to Middletown Middle School during the Mendocino Complex Fire, the barking and meows of more than 100 of their furry family members were anything but annoying. In fact, they were downright comforting.
At the peak of evacuations, animals sheltered on the school’s campus outnumbered people by 2-to-1. More than 70 people and 140 pets stayed in the gym or camped in tents on the athletic field. Read more
By Kathleen Maclay, Red Cross volunteer
Lori Rose of Lucerne isn’t one to let life pass her by – whether the nearly 84-year-old is making the most of being a Mendocino Complex Fire evacuee in a Red Cross shelter at Middletown High or zipping along Highway 20 bordering Clear Lake in a motorized scooter with a bright balloon trailing behind her.
To some, Rose’s life may sound challenging. After all, she’s blind in her right eye, she has diabetes, sometimes experiences vertigo and lost her husband to brain cancer in 1993.
But as she recounts being evacuated for the first time, it’s clear that Rose sees the glass as half full. Read more