Story: Flooding in Florida

May 2, 2014

PENSACOLA, FL May 2, 2014 — Over the past week, storms have left a wide swath of damage, devastation and despair from the Great Plains to the Gulf Coast and across the Mid-Atlantic. The Red Cross has been there every day to help. Here in Northwest Florida, many families who sought a dry, safe place when floodwaters rose, went to a Red Cross shelter.

Alaina Reed was awakened by her mother at 3 a.m. who was standing next to her bed in inch-deep water. Reed saw that her first-floor Forrest Creek apartment in Pensacola had rapidly rising murky water. Reed woke up her two children, six year-old Ayden and two year-old Lianna. The Reed family spent the next five hours sitting in the dark on the arms an back of their sofa until the sun came up. Then looking out the windows, Reed saw rescue teams bringing boats to the apartments. “The rescue workers carried the kids and our suitcase to the boats and then we were taken on a bus to the Red Cross shelter,” said Reed.

“The water came fast. And it rose high,” said long-time resident Calvin Grace, holding his hand some 4-feet above the
floor. Fortunately he was able to evacuate without a problem – except for the fact that he lost everything beyond for the
clothes he was wearing.

Another Forrest Creek resident, Jamerius Bush, awoke her family of five to take them to their upstairs neighbor when she discovered water rising in her apartment. When she left to go to a Red Cross shelter, she saw her new furniture that was delivered three days earlier, floating in her apartment.

In the days ahead, the Red Cross will also be working with local community partners to provide additional services to help families get back on their feet and begin to recover.

Story: A Positive Outlook Speeds Recovery

November 8, 2013


After serving in the Vietnam War and watching his friends and brothers get injured, Jesse Cazarez knows how fortunate he is.

“I am the lucky one,” he says, standing in the middle of a water-logged garage next to two totaled cars and piles of rubble.

That sense of gratitude and optimism shines through as he begins to rebuild after the floods that his in neighborhood on Halloween.

“This is nothing,” Jesse said. “After everything I’ve seen, I know that as a human being, you can always bounce back. Red Cross feeds me every day, and they’ve really been a lot of help.”

Story: A History of Service

November 8, 2013

To Serve

As a former NSA employee, Air Force veteran and retired Police Officer, David Spillman might at first seem unapproachable. But as volunteer case worker for the Red Cross, David’s manner is anything by intimidating.

When speaking of his service to his country, David’s slight smile and narrowed eyes hint at a deep history of challenges and victories—a subtle fact that allows him to forge a deep connection with the Red Cross clients he helps.

As clients sit down at his station at the Flood Assistance Center in Austin, Texas, he greats them humbly and speaks to them warmly.
“I have had many jobs,” said David. “But in the end I just enjoy being of service, and that’s what drew me to the Red Cross.”

Story: Getting Supplies to Clients in Colorado

September 23, 2013


To the casual visitor, it looks like a whirlwind of chaos with big trucks backing up to the unloading doors, forklifts zipping around the massive warehouse floor unloading dozens of pallets and then loading them into other vehicles for delivery to area affected by the Colorado flooding.

In recent days, more than 17 truckloads of supplies including personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, lanterns, tents, sleeping bags, rakes, tarps, gloves, flashlights, colors and insect repellent has arrived.

“We want to get the product out to the client because they are ones who are needing it and they are needing it now,” Bos said.

On a recent day, Bos and his crew were busy loading a truck with blankets, gloves and cleanup kits heading out to one of the flooded areas. He watched to make sure everything was loaded properly and secured for the ride before heading out.

While overseeing the warehouse operation is a big part of his work, Bos feels he has another role to make sure that the money donated to the Red Cross is being used efficiently.

“I don’t see where anything we do shouldn’t be concerned with the donor dollar,” he said. “They are ones who are paying for this and we need to respect that.”

Bos, who retired after an Air Force career, said he is volunteering with the Red Cross because “it’s time to give back to the community.”
It’s a job with long hours and no pay, but Bos said his reward is knowing that what he is doing is helping those in need.

“You can’t put a dollar figure on it,” he said.

Update: Using Safe and Well

September 18, 2013

Story: “When I Close My Eyes, I Hear Water”

September 17, 2013

Story by American Red Cross Volunteer, Catherine Barde

Eldin and Audrey Myer, married 53 years and lifelong Colorado residents, lost their home in the devastating flood waters in Evans, Colorado. They found themselves in one of many shelters opened across Colorado as safe place for people to stay along with blankets, cots, food, comfort and emotional support.

“We got taken out on a boat – the water was over our fence,” Eldin recalled. They watched their home surrounded by a wall of water as they left.  Trees, barrels and tires filled the turbulent water as the boat carried them to safety.  John Betz, their nephew, lost his home next door and shared his photo of their rescue.

Eldin and Audrey were escorted to the local hospital and then found shelter at the Greeley Recreation Center.  Red Cross Health Services has continued to monitor their medication needs and blood pressure.

“We have lost everything including our pets, we just had no time to get anything except Eldin’s cane and my purse,” Audrey said.

“When I close my eyes, I see water, I hear water”,  Audrey Myer said, as tears welled up in her eyes. “When you have lost everything, it is so great to come to the Red Cross shelter. There is a nurse, personal items, shampoo and toiletries. We are so grateful.”


VOLUNTEERING: At this time, the American Red Cross of Colorado is fortunate to have volunteers who are trained, ready and willing to support our response to the flooding in our communities. We thank individuals and community groups who are willing to support this effort and encourage them to register to become new volunteers to help with future disaster responses. They can find all relevant information at

Should the situation change or worsen, we will update information on our website and in press releases to indicate whether we are accepting volunteers to help with this response.

In Kind Donations: The Red Cross does not accept donated items at their shelters. People with items to donate are urged to go to to find out where supplies are needed.

DONATE: The Red Cross is able to respond to a widespread disaster affecting numerous communities because of the generosity of donors. If you would like to support our work responding to these and other disasters, donate online at or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

PREPARE YOURSELF AND YOUR COMMUNITY: One of the best ways to take action right now if you are not personally affected by the flooding is to prepare yourself, your loved ones and/or your workplace. When you are prepared, you contribute to your community’s ability to withstand and recover from disasters. Find out more and start making your emergency Game Plan by visiting our National Preparedness Month information page:—Colorado.

KEEP IN TOUCH: If you live in an affected community, please notify your loved ones of your status via text, phone, e-mail or social media. In addition, list your status on You may also search for people on the site.


Story: Tuscaloosa Tornado to Colorado Flood

September 17, 2013

Caroline and family


Caroline McLowhorn, married to Jason Burkart, two daughters Jasmine Burkart 12 and Jo-Jo Burkart 1

Two years ago during the F5 Tuscaloosa Alabama tornadoes, Caroline thought she’d see it all.  Three of her friends died in the tornado, and she wanted to start a new chapter for her family.

Her husband Jason came out to Longmont first.  He found a beautiful community and plenty of work, so last week he called his wife and kids to make the journey.  Two months pregnant with two kids in the car, Caroline made the cross country trip to rejoin her husband.  She had to stop at hospitals in Kansas and Colorado due to a pelvic infection, but she eventually made it…just a few short days before the flood.

When her husband’s apartment got flooded, they moved into a hotel, but after six days, their bank account was empty, so they turned to the Red Cross shelter for food, housing, and support.  Jasmine made fast friends with the other young girls in the shelter, and everyone doted on Jo-Jo.

Late Monday night, they were able to find temporary housing free for the next two weeks.  Every pregnant mother deserves her own bed and a little privacy, so while we’ll miss our new friends, we’re always glad when our shelter residents find a new home.

VIDEO: Lucero

September 16, 2013

PHOTOS: South Texas Flooding

June 23, 2013

PHOTOS:  South Texas Flooding

In the wake of so many and big spring storms, many people didn’t even know that more than 500 people living in Eagle Pass, TX experienced 36 hours of massive rains in mid-June, which caused severe flooding and destroyed more than 100 homes. Here are some photos of Red Cross at work.

DISASTER ALERT: Flooding in Alaska

May 29, 2013

More than 200 people have been evacuated from Galena by the Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) due to severe Yukon River flooding. Evacuees with friends and family in Anchorage and Fairbanks to stay with were flown out on Monday. Those who had to quickly leave their flooding homes before being able to retrieve necessary medications were also evacuated by the TCC. They are being assisted with shelter and immediate needs by the American Red Cross of Alaska in Anchorage and Fairbanks.
UPDATE: Two Red Cross shelters are operating in Fairbanks for Galena evacuees:
University Community Presbyterian Church- 3510 College Road
Fairhill Community Church of God- 101 City Lights Blvd
Red Cross and other officials are urging Galena evacuees to register their well being at Safe and Well is a Red Cross program that helps to reconnect families and loved ones after disaster.
Once flood waters recede, Red Cross will be able to conduct damage assessment in Galena and begin to distribute cleanup supplies to affected homes.
More ice jams threaten the Lower Kuskokwim River communities as Spring Breakup continues in Alaska’s interior. Communities have been contacted by Red Cross staff and volunteers to review preparedness and emergency plans. Volunteers are on standby to open a shelter in Bethel in the coming days in the instance that these communities must evacuate.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 372 other followers