A Month with Georgia On My Mind

Flood40 At 4 a.m. on September 21st, I received a phone call from the national Red Cross Call Center. Twelve families were being evacuated from their homes due to flooding in my own county of Gwinnett, Georgia. I called my response team and we headed out into some of the worst weather I've ever driven in.

Flood88 For the next 48 hours we assisted people with emergency shelter, food and clothing… a family whose house burned even while floodwaters rose steadily, an elderly woman taken out of her home by boat, 105 people evacuated from their mobile home park. We opened three shelters that first day and travelled throughout our county responding to people in crisis.

By 9 a.m. it was clear that this was a disaster throughout the metro Atlanta area. Fire and police departments scrambled to respond to the overwhelming calls for help. A full-scale rescue operation was underway.

Flood72 That was a month ago. For the last four weeks my fellow responders and I have worked with the American Red Cross, helping to shelter, feed, clothe and comfort Georgians in 23 counties affected by the flooding. Lives disrupted, work and school on hold, and sadly, ten deaths.

Disaster brings out the best and the worst in people. I've heard of many selfless acts of kindness and courage; I've also heard of looting and scams. I've hugged people who cried from sheer exhaustion, seen the gratitude in a man's eyes when handed work gloves and a bottle of bleach, been moved by the determination of Red Cross workers to reach a home made inaccessible by raging water.

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Through it all, I've been privileged to serve with the American Red Cross. I have travelled far from home before to assist those struggling in disaster in other states, but this was the first time I've worked on a disaster of this scale in my own home area.

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As I get back to my normal activities — including posting on this blog — and life resumes its regular ebb and flow of delights and challenges, I pledge to remain mindful of those in our community who struggle to put the pieces back together. There is still a lot of hurt, both financial and emotional, for many, many families in Georgia.

Mission1 The news coverage faded away with the receding water. The journey of recovery continues.

If you have the means, take time to make a donation to the American Red Cross.

How we Help Call your local chapter or go to www.americanredcross.org. Your donation makes it possible for volunteers to continue to serve people displaced, disoriented and devastated by disaster.

It is a blessing to be able to volunteer to help others. It's a blessing to give. Thank you for helping us to help others.

KathleenSignature

Comments

  1. Thanks, Mary — good to hear from you! Hope all is well with you and yours. :-)

  2. Mary Robinette :

    Kathleen,
    That was beautifully written. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hey Sylvia:

    I was deployed to Cedar Rapids last year with the Red Cross. It was such a concentrated area of devastation and so many families lost everything. I’ll never forget the people I met there.

  4. Thank You for your Time and your Kindness. Thoughts and Prayers for the people of that area. It is devastating. Last year Cedar Rapids, Iowa had the same, I lived there 35 years and to go back and visit my son was heart breaking. There are still 250 families that have nothing. The city will never be the same. Any volunteers or cash donations to the Red Cross are appreciated very much.

  5. Thanks, Cerise. We have come out of a long drought. Who knew it would be so dramatic and devastating? Your prayers are appreciated. :-)

  6. Cerise Welter :

    Dear Kathleen,

    You have our prayers here in W. Texas. I was in Atlanta a few years ago for a clown conference and your state was dry due to a prolonged drought. One knows that the rains are coming, but never knows just how they will effect life. We have had our share of flash flooding here in sandy W. Texas, but never the amounts of rain Georgia has seen.

    Blessings as we pray for answers to the huge needs of the folks there.

    Cerise

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