Friday, October 14, 2016

Letter from Mid-West Tennessee Executive Director, David Hicks - October 2016

Thoughts from a First Time Deployee

Greetings to all the Mid-West Tennessee chapter volunteers!

By now you may have already heard that I've been deployed for the first time since joining the Red Cross back in July. I’m serving as a Government Liaison in Georgia as part of our disaster relief efforts for Hurricane Matthew. I’m so proud to come alongside thousands of Red Cross volunteers from across the nation to help provide disaster relief from Hurricane Matthew for the southern part of the Eastern Coast.

I’m sure there will be many seasoned Red Cross veterans that I will have the privilege of getting to know personally during my deployment who will prove to be valuable for me by helping “show me the ropes”. I’ll admit that when I think of the deployment culture I realize how foreign it really is to me right now. I can only imagine at this time what it will be like to be in the Disaster Control Center and see all of the “moving parts” work together in unison to accomplish all we can to relieve the tragedy and heartache of so many communities and families. It is also a sobering thought to realize there will come a moment where I will travel to an area in the aftermath of the Hurricane. I’ll witness first-hand the damage and incomprehensible heartache in the eyes of those who've lost property (our even worse, family members and/ or loved ones).  

I hope my thoughts and curiosity about my deployment take many of you back in time to the memories of your own first deployment with Red Cross and all of the pride/ excitement/ anxiety that came with it. I've been told by many of you in the last couple of months that no matter how long you have served in the organization, there is nothing that can provide the full understanding and perspective of our cause like deployment can. I expect to understand that perspective in a much deeper way after I've been on site for the next few days.

Please continue to thoughtfully consider deployment of your own in the days and weeks to come. As I’m sure many of you can understand, there are struggles that will continue for those victimized by the storm in the weeks and months to come. The need for help and assistance will continue long after the “eyes of the nation” have turned to newer or more interesting stories. We all know how fickle the interest of a nation can be through the eyes of the media.

With that being said, I look forward to sharing some of my experiences with many of you when I return from deployment- and hearing some of yours from those who have also deployed in response to Hurricane Matthew. In a short time I've grown to be so proud of the volunteer spirit in our local chapter- Go team Mid-West TN!!

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