Thursday, January 30, 2014

Red Cross Assists Travelers Stranded by Winter Weather

Atlanta resident, Sandra Garrett, was heading home from a 6 day visit to a friend in Milwaukee via Greyhound Bus on Monday, January 27th. After her first bus got delayed because the heat was not working, she then was told to take another bus to Chicago. When this bus arrived to the station late, she missed her connecting bus and then was sent on to Indiana. From there, she took another bus and finally made it to Nashville, TN at around 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, January 28th. At that point, weather reports were grim for everyone who was headed south and she realized her chances of returning home that day to her family and beloved grandchild were fading quickly.

A rare winter storm brought freezing temperatures to much of the Southeast and Gulf Coast over a 24 hour period. The dangerous weather affected millions of people, including residents of the Deep South who are not used to snow, sleet and freezing rain with below-zero wind chills.

Garrett spent a long day waiting in the crowded Nashville Greyhound Station and tried to get some sleep that evening on a bus that was left running overnight for the weary stranded passengers to board to keep warm and rest. The next day, officials at Greyhound reached out to the Nashville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross for help. That Wednesday afternoon, a Greyhound bus transported 27 passengers who were unable to return home due to the weather emergency, to the Red Cross emergency shelter that had been set up at Mt. Nebo Baptist Church. There, they were able to get meals, snacks, water, and comfort kits with personal hygiene items and hot showers. Garrett told Red Cross volunteers that while the cots and blankets at the shelter weren’t exactly luxurious, they were certainly much more comfortable than the chairs at the packed bus station.

“The Red Cross really came to our rescue,” said Garrett. “We were all freezing cold and not used to these temperatures but then you showed up and it was like the light at the end of the tunnel after a long journey.”

All 27 weary travelers boarded a bus headed south to finish their long trip back home on Thursday morning. As they hugged Red Cross volunteers on their way out the door of the shelter, thrilled with the anticipation of finally returning home, many of them expressed their genuine thanks and appreciation to the Red Cross, the Greyhound employees and Mt. Nebo Baptist Church members for generously opening their doors and allowing strangers, who had then become friends, to get some rest and relief after their long winter journey.

All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from people in our community.

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