They watched as the flood waters began to rise up and destroy everything that they had spent years working for. Many of them escaped with only the shirts on their back, but they were helped to safety by the hands of gentle strangers.
When I arrived at the Red Cross headquarters in Baton Rouge, there were Red Cross volunteers all over the place. The office was buzzing with red vests, smiling faces, and a real zeal for going out and helping those who had been affected. It was an incredible scene, as every inch of the building was set up and running like a well-oiled machine. Partnerships began to form and communication from each area was consistent and precise. I watched in awe as I saw the training of the volunteers come to life and be put into action. My heart filled with pride for an organization run with thousands of big hearted people who only want the best for the people of Louisiana.
The eight days were filled with different events that touched my heart. I met an elderly lady in a shelter that told she had been in her trailer home and watched the water as it flowed into her living room. She was rescued by a boat and was taken to the Red Cross shelter. I sat there and listened to her while she talked about her daughter who she hadn't been able to communicate with and the sadness that losing everything had brought her. That lady is the reason that our mission exists and continues. I put my arms around her as tears rolled down her face and told her everything was going to be ok. From that moment on, the work I did there meant so much more. I was in the right place at the right time offering hope to a lady who felt abandoned ….what a moment!
I left Baton Rouge with a greater love for what I do and an even greater commitment to this organization that shows up and has arms wide and hearts open!