In the spirit of the holiday season, the American Red Cross of Massachusetts gave thanks and welcomed back volunteers who deployed across the nation in response to the devastating hurricane season.
Workers and volunteers gathered in Medford on Monday night. Some met each other for the first time. All shared stories of what they saw, did and learned.
Lynn resident Alan Day spent two weeks in Texas to help residents displaced from Hurricane Harvey.
“I got there about a weeks and a half after and there were still tons of roads closed, still flooded out homes that had 4,5,6 feet of water in it,” Day described.
He added, “We were out there feeding them hot meals for lunch and dinner everyday while they were out there trying to clean up their houses.”
Volunteer Nicki Bourassa also helped in Texas. She explained, “I did a lot of outreach so I was driving around town checking in on people as they were going to their homes for the first time.”
Pembroke Resident Rich Figueiredo was deployed to Puerto Rico.
“We were going into hospitals, trying to find all the critical medical needs. We were also trying to find trapped populous... roads, bridges that were out.”
Figueiredo says it was an inspiring experience.
“I saw devastation, but I also saw a great population of people working together. And getting through a bad situation.”
Lily Mendez, American Red Cross Worker, also helped out in Puerto Rico. She promises to return again.
“When you come into a space where you have such great need, because of a disaster, it really puts you in touch with just humanity,” said, Mendez.
Since August, about 300 American Red Cross volunteers from our area have deployed to devastated areas to help.
Many put their full-time jobs, and even their businesses, on hold to volunteer.