Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tennessee Volunteer Shares Story from Louisiana Shelter

The following story and photos are from Scott Toncray, one of 65 volunteers from Tennessee currently deployed in Louisiana.  Scott is deployed as a Public Affairs volunteer, taking photos and writing stories about the Red Cross services being providing.

I spent much of today with the family in these photos in a shelter in Livingston Parish. Their neighbor knocked on the door and told them to leave, to get out, "JUST GO". The water was rising.

They grabbed a few things and waded through waist-deep water to escape. Keith and Alicia Littlejohn, the parents of these three beautiful children, survived, but lost everything. Before our interview, Alicia broke down a little and asked me, "How could the man who saved our lives not save his own?" They learned on the news that the neighbor who had knocked on their door and told them to evacuate, had drowned. At that moment I broke down, and I decided to stick around, because sometimes listening and sharing a shoulder to cry on is the best you can do.

Later, I took more photos, took turns with Liberty (their daughter) who took photos of us, until the CEO of the American Red Cross, Gail McGovern, arrived and met the Littlejohns. Shortly after, I was able to introduce them to a stately looking gentleman when Alicia said, "You look familiar," and he replied, "I'm your U.S. Senator and I am going to make sure you get the help you need." She broke a little. So did I. The Red Cross CEO said the same thing. “So will I. We are all going to work together to make sure families like this one get the help they need.”

Submitted August 17, 2016

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