The American Red Cross is staffing the reunification center for Colorado residents (and animals) who were evacuated from their homes today.
— Larry (@OCPIO) September 16, 2013
— Nina Sparano (@NinaSparano) September 16, 2013
When the Carter family of Peeple’s Valley, Ariz., had to abandon their home in the face of the Yarnell Hill wildfire, they took what was most precious with them: eight dogs and two cats.
The entire household has found refuge at Yavapai Community College in Prescott, where the American Red Cross and Animal Disaster Services have teamed up to run side-by-side shelters for humans and pets. For more than 10 years, the partnership has been key to getting pet-lovers to leave home when necessary, because they know their animals will be welcome and well cared for right next door to where they are sheltering.
The Carter family initially went to stay with a friend in Yarnell, but when raging flames threatened that community, they had just half an hour to flee. Sheriff’s deputies directed them to the Red Cross shelter, where there would also be food, water and the compassion of caring volunteers.
“The Red Cross folks make you feel at home,” Carter said, “even when you don’t know if you have a home to go back to.”
Meanwhile, three grandsons and a granddaughter make sure Hunter, Poppy and Cadden get plenty of exercise and affection. Latere, they’ll turn their attention to the four puppies and to the cats.
“People won’t leave their pets behind,” Carter said firmly. “This set-up is great. It’s good for the animals and it’s good for the people.”
By Taylor Kelling and Jonathan McNamara
On May 20th, 2013 Ed and Diane Steiner returned to their home in Moore, OK after a normal day. Their house was soon rocked by a devastating EF-5 tornado that severely damaged their home and destroyed most of the structures in their neighborhood. The Steiners survived the tornados in a small closet, the most interior room of their home. “It was pretty fast after we got home… he heard the tornado… you could feel the house being torn apart and I think that tiny space saved us” said Diane Steiner. The Steiner’s were trapped in the closet for about thirty minutes until a woman came to help them break out of the debris.
In the days since the tornado, the Steiners have been impressed by the response from the American Red Cross. “The Red Cross, everyday that I have been here, the Red Cross truck and the volunteers have been up and down the street on an hourly basis” said Ed Steiner, “I know they had 17 miles to take care of… theres 17 miles of destruction… and they are still the same folks… no matter where you are at there is a Red Cross truck.”
The Steiners, who are Red Cross donors, have been amazed how far their donor dollar goes. “You know you give to the Red Cross and you don’t really know where its going… but we’ve been able to see it first hand.” said Diane Steiner.
For more information about the American Red Cross response to the Oklahoma tornadoes, visit redcross.org and follow us on twitter @redcrossokc.
Red Cross Disaster Worker Butch Cooper of Arkansas and 13-year-old Duane Reese unload supplies at an aid station at the Southgate Pentecostal Church in Moore, OK. Photo credit: Jecoliah Ellis/American Red Cross