The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
by Robert W. Wallace
Moscow, Tennessee, January 30, 2013. Tricia Romero woke just after midnight to the scream of a storm siren and extremely loud noise of rain and wind. Her single-story apartment complex was being battered by high-velocity straight-line winds that were part of a major storm whipping through west Tennessee and northern Mississippi.
“It was scary. It sounded like a big train was coming through.” Soon the ceiling began falling and then water poured into her apartment. “My children were under the mattress of the bed.” recalled Romero. A neighbor banged on the door and warned that the roof of the apartment complex was about to come off and land on her car. She was able to move her car in time, but by then the ceiling had collapsed and the apartment was flooded with six inches of water.
Soon the fire department arrived. Romero and her two children, ages 10 and 5, along with Romero’s mother, were able to escape the now devastated apartment with no injuries, but the fire department would not let them reenter their home to grab any possessions. They had only the clothes they were wearing, the children in pajamas, and the identification that Romero grabbed as she rushed from her home.
Local emergency management authorities now on the scene made a call to the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross. Immediate shelter arrangements were made for Romero, her children and her mother, as well as her neighbor and her 13 year-old-child who were also left homeless, at the nearby Oakland Inn. The next morning Red Cross workers arrived and provided them and with funds necessary for clothing, food, and other immediate needs, and two additional nights of housing. The Red Cross workers also provided teddy bears as a small comfort to the children and comfort kits containing toothpaste, tooth brushes, razors, soap, and other personal need supplies.
Romero and her neighbor were two of the over 700 families per year who receive emergency assistance from the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross after their lives have been disrupted by a fire, storm, flood, or another emergency that leaves them in desperate need of immediate assistance. Many of the families receive emergency housing, either at a local motel or shelter, and financial help for immediate needs for clothing, medicine, food and transportation.
Assistance from the Red Cross is made possible by the generous donations from members of the local community. Your assistance is needed to continue this essential work. To make a donation go to https://www.redcross.org/donate/index.jsp?donateStep=2&itemId=prod60003 or call the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross at 901-726-1690.