Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Letter from Tennessee River Executive Director, Faye Anderson - January 2016

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

The Tennessee River Chapter saw firsthand the hope that the Red Cross gives out to those in need this holiday season.   The storms that hit on December 23rd resulted in a call to action that would take us away from our own families the week of Christmas to help those who had lost everything.  We loaded up our ERV and vehicles with volunteers who were sent out to become heroes to many families.

I personally had the opportunity to visit several communities that had been affected by the tornado.  Standing there, I couldn’t imagine what fear the residents felt- the sounds and the sight of their homes after the wind had calmed and they were able to go outside.  Can you imagine working your whole life to provide your family a safe place to live, only to have it disappear in a matter of minutes?

Many of the residents took shelter in a place built to withstand the strong winds.  Others were not so lucky.  One of the residents, 80 years of age, got into her bathtub to ride out the storm.  She was found out in the nearby field still in her tub, still alive.

What a blessing and an honor it is to put on our distinctive Red Cross vest and see the relief in the face of an individual or family that has lost everything.  I felt an immense amount of pride standing next to our volunteers, watching that compassion at work.  The kind of heart that drives our volunteers into action is so rare and so precious.  The hugs that they gave out gave these families a feeling of having someone to lean on; it gave them a starting point back to recovery.  It is true that not all heroes wear capes, they come in all shapes and sizes.  One thing is for sure: the Tennessee River is overflowing with heroes that those families will not soon forget.

To all of our volunteers, thank you for your willingness to give to others through your unbridled spirit of unselfishness.  You are and always will be my hero!

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