Local Red Cross volunteers from the American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids are making a name for themselves during the flooding relief efforts in Fargo, North Dakota.
Our four local AmeriCorps volunteers are working overnight shifts in a shelter for staff and first responders, which is seeing upwards of 60 people a day. Local Red Cross AmeriCorps volunteer, Megan Ghysels, was chosen upon arrival to run the shelter, which is a big responsibility that involves overseeing every aspect of shelter life.
Megan describes the incredible level of commitment she sees from those coming through the shelter, including Red Cross volunteers, police officers, firefighters, dike engineers, and workers from the Department of Natural Resources. Police officers from as far away as Minneapolis, Minn. drive in, work a 12 hour shift, grab two hours’ sleep and an energy drink at the shelter, then turn around and drive the several hours back home.
“The most amazing thing is watching people from all over the place coming in, and wanting to help each other. We have police officers from nine different departments arriving daily, as well as sandbaggers from Billings, Montana who drove 8 hours to help,” said Megan.
The stories hit home as they are watching the historic flooding. She tells the story of a local man who was working as a sandbagger and his experience in the flooding.
“He told me that he was working to lay sandbags around his neighbors’ house, but they told him he should leave because it was a lost cause. He said he just stood there, laying sandbags and crying,” describes Megan.
Help people affected by disasters like the North Dakota Flooding, by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund at www.greatergrandrapids.redcross.org or by calling (616) 456-8661. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters.
To see more photos of what the Red Cross is doing in North Dakota, please click here.