STORY: A Pearl Harbor Survivor with a Penchant for Disaster Relief

December 7, 2012

Story by Adrian Brune, photo by Jeramie Williams

Pearl Harbor 1

Looking out over the setting sun on Beech Street in the Rockaways, Dorinda Nicholson estimated the distance from where she stood to the Hurricane Sandy disaster zone measured about the same as her childhood home to the Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii.

On the morning of December 7, 1941, Nicholson, then a first grader at Sacred Hearts Convent School on Oahu, was asleep in bed with her dog, Hula Girl, when the Japanese planes came raining down on the naval base – about a mile from her parents house – and the oily black smoke ascended from battleship row. Seventy-one years later, Nicholson, a psychotherapist from Kansas City, walked the streets of Long Beach with the other members of the Red Cross Integrated Care Team knocking on doors and looking for Hurricane Sandy survivors who still needed help and support.

“You never believe something like this is going to happen to you – it’s the same feeling I had during Pearl Harbor,” said Nicholson, carrying a clipboard and copies of the Red Cross’ booklet Moving Forward After a Disaster. “Every disaster has a different feel to it, but there’s always the shaking of that sense of control you thought you had over your life and then sorting things out and reprioritizing.

“It’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here. I knew people needed to hear from someone who had that experience, too.”

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Disaster Alert: Rain and Wind in Hawaii

January 13, 2011

Disaster Alert

Hawaii – Heavy rain and strong winds caused varying degrees of damage to buildings in Oahu yesterday.

The Hawaii State Chapter opened a shelter at the request of the Oahu Emergency Management. The Chapter will do damage assessment later today.


Disaster Alert: Brush Fire in Hawaii

June 11, 2010

Disaster Alert

Hawaii – A brush fire in Ocean View burned down a number of uninhabited homes yesterday. The Hawaii State Chapter opened a sehlter but later placed it on standby. The chapter will be doing damage assessment today.


Disaster Alert: Brush Fire in Hawaii

June 9, 2010

Disaster Alert

Hawaii – A large brush fire on Maui resulted in the closure of a highway to Lahaina. The fire has not affected homes but there are fears it may move down the mountain.

The Hawaii State Chapter has opened two shelters and will provide mass care.


Disaster Alert: Wildfire in Hawaii

May 4, 2010

Disaster Alert

Hawaii – A brush fire in Maui, which started on Monday, prompted the evacuation of residents in the affected area today.

The Hawaii State Chapter deployed a Disaster Action Team and opened a shelter for affected-area residents.


Disaster Alert: High Surf Event in Hawaii

December 7, 2009

Disaster Alert

Hawaii - High surfs on the isle of Oahu prompted the evacuation of residents in the affected area.  Elevated surf expected over the next three days. The Hawaii State Chapter opened 3 shelters for the affected-area residents.


American Samoa: Much Needed Supplies Arrive Saturday Evening

October 19, 2009

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10.17.09 More Supplies Arrive In American Samoa

The American Red Cross took delivery of 122 pallets of supplies for residents of American Samoa, who are still working to recover from the Sept. 29 tsunami that killed a reported 34 people and damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes.

The supplies that arrived Saturday evening included diapers, baby formula, towels, brooms and feminine hygiene products—all of which are in short supply on the island. The delivery included bolts of fabric that could be cut into lava-lava—the traditional skirt-like garment that is worn by men and women on American Samoa.

More than 300 workers from the American Red Cross, representing chapters on American Samoa, Hawaii and across the U.S. mainland, are at work on American Samoa to provide assistance to those affected by the tsunami. The workers will distribute the new supplies to villages across American Samoa, along with tuna, rice, noodles and water.

“People here have temporary housing and cots and cooking utensils, so we’re providing food supplies that will allow them to cook at home,” said Red Cross worker Bob Howard.

Donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund enable the Red Cross to purchase needed supplies at the best price possible and deliver them as efficiently as possible to those affected by all disasters.


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