Letters to the Editor

Real heroes help the Red Cross

Home fires affect whole communities. The Red Cross responds and provides free transition assistance; friends, neighbors, and community organizations also respond and help those affected begin anew.

The devastating motor home fire last month that left “Dan” and his dog, “Lil Miss” without a home or possessions is no different.

As of now, Dan and his dog “Lil Miss” are doing much better – he anticipates purchasing another motor home soon and the two are slowly rebuilding their lives with the help of their community and the American Red Cross.

Just before this particular fire, Oak Harbor residents had joined in a Walgreens-sponsored Red Cross Day. Six bags of personal hygiene items (soap, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, feminine hygiene items, deodorant, etc.) were donated to the Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross. The citizens of Island County deserve a big thank you for this!

The Islands Chapter Red Cross received more than 20 disaster calls between February and September from residents suddenly struck by unexpected disaster. Approximately 30 local people, some families with children, some single parents, and some such as Dan and his dog, alone with no one and suddenly nothing, were all provided assistance by the Islands Red Cross Chapter.

Generous financial donations from local residents enables the Islands Red Cross to provide shelter for a few nights in a hotel, food, clothing, replacement prescriptions, shoes, blankets, even food for pets. Red Cross is there to provide help through those toughest, first nights after a family or person is caught in a disaster.

In addition, the Red Cross provides the basics: comfort kits containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, razor, shampoo, and other items so important to a family who has lost everything.

Our citizens are committed to helping each other. It’s your financial donations to the Red Cross, plus the help of corporations such as Walgreens and Walmart, that make it possible for us to help friends or neighbors when they need it most. Even when a coding input error temporarily stops a checker at the cash register (as happened with Dan’s Red Cross card last month) our back-up systems (the citizens of Oak Harbor and Island County) are in place.

People step up and become real heroes: the Walmart employee who personally paid for Dan’s meager bits of clothing, some food, and some basic living supplies, including dog food for Lil Miss; the donated car from a Clinton resident, the financial support from you, many of you strangers to Dan.

We say thank you Island Count residents! Believe me, without backup from you, our “real heroes” who so generously donate to us so that the Red Cross can “be there every time,” we might never be able to help those who are hit by disaster with just the “hand up” they need to start over.

Brian Geer

Executive Director

American Red Cross

Islands Chapter

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