Meet Lamis, or Lili as she is known around the Jaycee Towers in Chattanooga. Lili who is living in the Volunteer State on special VISA from Turkey doing work in the area as an Interpretor. Lili considers herself a resilient person, but feels anyone forced from their home at any hour of the day for an undetermined amount of time can be frustrating and emotionally overwhelming.
Lili is one of 150 members of the Jaycee Towers that was forced to evacuate and leave their home on St. Patrick’s Day after a fire impacted the entire 18-story buildings power grid. It took 9 hours to evacuate all of the residents, most of which are senior citizens with functional needs. Some residents were able to seek refuge with family or friends, while more than 80 remained without a place to go.
Thanks to the support of local donors, community partners and volunteers, the American Red Cross was able to be there for each resident. Quickly opening the South Chattanooga Recreation Center as a shelter, working with community partners like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, McKamey Animal Services and Chattanooga Area Food Bank, we collectively were able to meet their emergency needs of shelter, food, medical care, emotional support, transportation and more.
"God bless the first class support, day and night, that the American Red Cross provided us at the shelter,” said Lili. “It's not hard to say where we would have gone, but the Red Cross was there and helped meet all of our needs.” Lili quickly became a favorite of the volunteers working at the South Chattanooga Rec Center and utters the words "THANK YOU" followed by an embracing hug for anyone she passes. Lili says it best “the Red Cross means to me, the precious word of help, in all that the word means: Mercy, Kindness, Love and Rescue!"
After 51 hours, the community crisis ended and all of the residents of Jaycee Towers were able to go home. Most left thankful for what the Red Cross and partner agencies did to help each. But, Lili couldn’t leave without personally thanking each volunteer with a hug because in her words “the Red Cross is her angel.”
The American Red Cross provides all disaster services at no cost and relies on the community for public support to aid residents like Lili and the residents of Jaycee Towers, amongst other disasters locally and nationwide. You can help support the relief efforts of the Red Cross by calling, click or texting your financial support. You can call (423) 265-3455 to donate by phone, click on www.redcross.org/SETN to donate online or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 through your wireless provider.