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/American Red Cross
Athens Alabama, May 6, 2014. “I never had that happen before,” said Pamela Rouse as she recalled the actions of a Walgreens Good Samaritan. “I was trying to purchase my husband’s medicines for the month, and the man behind me asked if he could pay my $125 bill.”
Money is tight for the Rouse family, especially now. Their home was destroyed by the recent tornadoes that tore through North Alabama. They have found a new place to live, but with a rent increase from $360 to $575, which is a huge hit for their fixed income budget.
“I just didn’t know what to say. I asked for his name, but he said all he wanted was a hug. I cried and hugged his neck. He never gave me his name. It’s so good to know that there are such people out there,” said Rouse.
Rouse was at home with her wheelchair bound husband and her four and five-year-old grandchildren when the tornado struck. “I heard the train a coming and jumped in the bathtub with my babies,” said Rouse. Her husband, unable to move from this wheel chair, sat by their front window and watched the storm come through.
Their home suffered extensive damage, but, amazingly, no one in the family was seriously injured. “My only injuries are bruises from my jump in the bathtub,” said Rouse. When Rouse’s daughter arrived from work soon after the tornado, she found her parents home in tatters and with all the windows broken out, but her children were at the front door, very scared but with no physical injuries.
Rouse noted that before the storm the children had been watching the activity in a bird’s nest in a nearby tree. “They saw the tree come down and now are so worried about the little birds,” shared Rouse. She went on to explain that the children are now very clingy and do not want to be away from her for very long.
Volunteer caseworker Doris Drake took Rouse’s registration at the American Red Cross Emergency Aid Station located at Friendship United Methodist Church in Athens. Drake provided referrals to the Salvation Army for help with replacement food and furniture. The family was also encouraged to visit the 7 Mile Post Road Church of Christ where the Southern Baptist Convention and Red Cross are collaborating to provide three meals a day to people with food needs in the aftermath of the tornadoes.
You can also be a good Samaritan by making a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Fund. To do so go to www.redcross.org, make a call to 800-Red-Cross, or text redcross to 90999 to make a $10 donation.