I’m working in Charleston supporting this awesome team of volunteers helping thousands of families who have been devastated by the horrific flooding. Our team has endless dedication, compassion, problem solving skills, serving hands and giving hearts.
Several days ago, while sitting at a table working, one of the local chapter volunteers leading the Damage Assessment team in our District came in the office after picking her grandson up from school and needed him to stay with her in the office while she completed her tasks.
So the 10 year old (same age as one of my grandkids) finished his homework, had a snack and was ready for something else to do. We talked about the Disaster Relief Operation and how important the work of the disaster responders were to the people impacted by the flood…I’m guessing he knew this already from hearing his grandmother talk about her service. He questioned me about how old you had to be to volunteer. I talked with him about my experience on various disaster assignments and how it made me feel to see cards and signs thanking our responders… that read “thank you”, a sign hung in a space we’re working especially those hands drawn by kids mean so much! He said I can do that and so it began…
Earlier we had talked about the “helping hands” our Disaster Responders use at the Red Cross so we tossed around ideas of what he might draw…maybe a Red Cross and hands. I expressed that Red Cross has equal sides and we found a sign to use as a stencil. I was pleasantly surprised when he decided to trace his hands too. The sight of him tracing his hand reminded me of the many times I’ve seen my grandchildren do the same…he traced his left hand and then asked me to help trace his right, I of course was happy to do so!
While putting the finishes touches on his picture a visitor came into the chapter. She was touring the impacted areas and came to the District Headquarters. The visitor was President and CEO of the American Red Cross Gail McGovern. As Gail spoke to the entire workforce, including my new friend, he held up the sign and Gail with a warm smile called him to the front of the room and then accepted his heart felt “thank you” to us Red Crossers. The “heart and hands” of a 10-year old captured ALL our hearts that afternoon. Gail asked that the picture be mailed back to her office so it wouldn’t get bent on her plane trip home.
Today, my buddy, came into the office again, he greeted me with a hug, a high five and a great big smile, a new Red Crosser I’m sure!
By American Red Cross Western North Carolina Region Senior Disaster Program Manager Susan B. Smith