Today marks my last day at our Red Cross chapter.
In case you never knew, my name is Caroline and I’m the one behind most of our blog posts (as well as our Twitter, Facebook and website…among many things). Each week I sit down to write this blog, posting things I hope will interest, inspire, or amuse you. For the past (almost) three years, this has been my place and it’s strange that today is the last day I will be here.
In the three years I’ve been with the Red Cross, my respect for the work of this organization has grown in leaps and bounds. Some of my favorite moments have been talking to volunteers and clients whose lives have been changed by the Red Cross and realizing how large our arms actually are. You, as a volunteer, donor or otherwise supporter of the Red Cross, are the reason those arms can reach out and offer hope to people in crisis. I’ve seen face-to-face what it can do.
I remember walking into my first burned home. It was a windy winter morning and the smoke was still rising from the gutted apartment complex. It was the strangest thing to be standing in someone’s living room and look up to see gray clouds instead of a ceiling. The apartment was destroyed; piles of burnt dishes and ragged furniture sat everywhere, with the smell of soaked carpet heavy in the air. I couldn’t stop thinking, “This is someone’s home, this is someone’s life.” This is where the ins and outs of someone’s life went on — birthday parties, family dinners, lazy nights spent with friends. To see it destroyed like that was terrible.
But amongst all that wreckage, there were the Red Cross volunteer caseworkers. They were there, in a nearby clubhouse, wrapping blankets around the shoulders of people weeping, offering hot coffee and working with each and every person to make sure they wouldn’t go without food, clothing or a place to sleep. I saw the absolute gratitude and relief in the weary eyes of people whose homes stood yards away, blackened and crumbling to pieces. We can’t give someone their home back, intact and perfect, but we can be a part of the healing process to help get them back on their feet. The resolve we see in our clients is tremendous; I know we’re just glad we can offer hope through in small ways — toothbrushes, blankets, a new shirt and a hot meal.
It has been a privilege serving this organization and community and I will never forget it.
I don’t like “goodbye,” so it’s “See you around!” for now…
[As a note, I will be scheduling a few posts throughout the next few weeks but they won’t be as frequent as before. Thank you for your patience as we go through the transition period of filling this position. Regular blogging should recommence in early September.]