American Red Cross of Mid-South

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.

Mental Health Providers: A Critical Component of the Red Cross Disaster Response

American Red Cross mental health worker Dorothy Lanphear consoles Jo Ann May at the Loveland Disaster Assistance Center. May and her husband Rusty lost their home and custom saddle-making business in the recent Colorado flooding.

American Red Cross mental health worker Dorothy Lanphear consoles Jo Ann May at the Loveland Disaster Assistance Center. May and her husband Rusty lost their home and custom saddle-making business in the recent Colorado flooding.

Loveland, Colorado, September 20, 2013. Jo Ann May found an empathetic listener in American Red Cross mental health worker Dorothy Lanphear as she describes the ordeal and loss that she and her husband Rusty endured during the recent Colorado flooding.

The Red Cross has deployed numerous mental health workers to respond to the Colorado flooding. Their mission is to deal with the trauma and stress that can be overwhelming to those who have been impacted by the disaster.

The Rays have enjoyed living and working at their home in Big Thompson Canyon for over 30 years, but on Thursday, September 12 they barely got out with their four horses before a flash flood came crashing through. “We received a call from a friend that we should load up our four horses and get them out of the canyon. By the time we had them loaded the water was three-feet deep,” said May.

After getting the horses out, the Mays quickly evacuated, but they had to leave their two cats. “One kitty we left in the house, but I couldn’t catch the other,” said Jo Ann May. They feared the worse, but when the waters abated and they had a chance to go back they discovered that both cats had survived.

Unfortunately, the May’s homestead was not so lucky. Their home, carport and workshop, the place were Rusty May made a living by creating custom-made saddles, were all destroyed. Jo Ann May lamented the big rolls of beautiful leather, the raw materials for Rusty’s saddles, that were completely destroyed by the high water that reached a height of four feet in the workshop.

The Mays have known each other since they were three-years-old and have been married for 56 years. “She’s still my bride,” said Rusty May.

They are amazingly upbeat and resilient after the loss of their home. “I’m better off than many. At least I still have my land, and with a good load of new topsoil too,” said Rusty May.

Story and photo credit: Robert W. Wallace/American Red Cross

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This entry was posted on December 4, 2013 by in Uncategorized.

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