Hope In The Shape Of A Teddy Bear
Even though the holidays are long gone, this story still resonates for many Red Cross volunteers and staffers.
On December 24th, the person at dispatch received a call regarding a fire at a ranch-style house in Homestead. The house belonged to a small business owner who makes a living selling affordable cars to farm laborers in the area. When the Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteers arrived they found the home totally destroyed. Only the father was there, the mother and daughter had gone out to run last minute errands before their Christmas dinner and weren’t back yet.
In preparation for the holidays they had decorated a big tree with lights and had even installed a life-sized dancing Santa. The fire started when the outlet where everything was plugged in overheated. The father was in the yard mowing his lawn when he heard his dog barking desperately. He turned to see his house on fire and sprung into action. He had just enough time to go inside to retrieve the family dog. For us, at the Red Cross, it is unfortunately a story we have heard before around this time the holiday season.
The DAT leader assessed the damage and because the family has no relatives in the area, gave them a hotel voucher for three nights and a card with money for food and clothes. As the Red Cross volunteer was leaving, he pulled out a teddy bear from his car and gave it to the father to give to his twelve-year-old daughter.
It was at this point that the man started to cry. He thanked the Red Cross volunteer and explained that he was heart broken he had to tell his little girl that she had lost her teddy bear collection in the fire. But thanks to the American Red Cross and its donors, Roberto the volunteer was able to give one little girl who had just lost all her belongings the first teddy bear for her new collection.