From Disaster Springs Hope, Inspiration

Joining the American Red Cross through the fellowship program this summer has introduced me to a team of hard working people who truly care about the welfare of others. I’ve heard the stories of employees and volunteers taking hours, days, and even weeks of their time to leave their homes and families to help those in need.

Their stories are moving, but I really felt the impact the American Red Cross can have when I joined a team of volunteers as they responded to a disaster here in Miami, Florida.

One of the residents of this North Miami home leads Red Cross volunteer Cherlynette Evans through his burned home. Photo by Nick Kulig

One of the residents of this North Miami home leads Red Cross volunteer Cherlynette Evans through his burned home. Photo by Nick Kulig

I drove to North Miami to accompany a team of three American Red Cross volunteers as they responded to a house fire. I was nervous, not knowing what kind of reaction to expect from the residents at this tragic time in their lives. They had lost everything, with the exception of whatever they could fit into a few suitcases and trash bags. What do you say to comfort them? How can you even pretend to relate to their situation? Luckily, I had the American Red Cross volunteers by my side.

The volunteers were amazing. They brought a glowing attitude with them, showing the victims of the fire that they truly care and want to help. The volunteers have been there before, which clearly helped calm the atmosphere as reality kicked in for the victims. They had just lost nearly everything they owned.

The American Red Cross and the volunteers brought hope to them, somehow putting a smile on their faces in this time of disaster. They now had food to eat and a hotel room to stay in for a few nights while they determine how to move on. At the end of the day, it could have been worse; they could be on the streets with nothing.

This experience was very inspirational and something I will never forget. The American Red Cross and its volunteers came into a tragic situation and provided a family with hope, something they desperately needed as they try to move forward.

-Nick Kulig
American Red Cross MBA fellow

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