Wednesday, February 24, 2010

“We were there to support and help people rebuild their lives.”

More than 6,000 Red Cross volunteers and employees from across the US responded to the devastating Southern California wildfires in October and November 2007. In all, the fires affected more than 640,000 acres of land and destroyed or damaged more than 5,000 homes. The Red Cross provided shelter for thousands of evacuees, as well as financial assistance and emotional support for tens of thousands of residents.

Charles Ball, NY Red Cross Assistant Director of Research, was one of 23 Greater New York Chapter volunteers and employees who participated in the relief and recovery effort. Charles conducted damage assessments of homes in San Diego County, and remembers most of the damage being an “all-or-nothing affair” with houses and trailers either untouched, or “just gone.” Charles said, “People often came to see the fate of their homes for the first time while we were assessing those homes. I felt that the presence of the Red Cross helped people realize that they were not alone with their suffering and that we were there to support and help them rebuild their lives.”

–Charles Ball, NY Red Cross

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