Thursday, November 22, 2012

Hurricane Katrina

August 1995. I couldn’t take my eyes off the television screen, watching the coverage of Hurricane Katrina. I wavered between tears for the death and devastation I was watching and anger for the lack aid for the victims. “Someone needs to do something,” I was thinking. My personal philosophy that I should do something about the things I feel strongly about has led me to some of the best and worst experiences of my life. So, I called the Red Cross and volunteered. And it did lead  to one of the  best and a worst experiences of my life.  Many other Oregonians felt the same way. An expedited fast track training program was quickly organized to certify volunteers in Disaster Resources. I took an intense crash course in Red Cross procedures and policies in accordance with my chosen track, family services, which is direct client casework. I chose this route because of my experience working with people in crisis. According to  a letter I received from the Red Cross, this disaster was “the largest series of disasters the Red Cross has faced in its 124 year history.” The training I took part in was the first local mass training ever. (Local Red Cross organizations provide volunteers to the American Red Cross for large scale disasters.) The Oregon Trail Chapter of the Red Cross deployed 300 people for Hurricane Katrina relief.