The following was written by Troy Reed, a volunteer member of an American Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT). DATs are on the frontlines of providing emergency assistance and are the first face of the Red Cross that people see after they have experienced a local disaster. DATs are on the streets and in our communities, day and night, to meet the needs of families and residents with food, clothing, temporary housing, mental health support and emergency supplies. Troy’s first call was Sunday, April 6, and the following is what he had to say:
Waiting for your first call for the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team can be somewhat unnerving. You go over everything you have been taught, wondering when the time comes, if you will remember what you should do first or last. You think you have the routine down, then your first call comes. Everything seems to escape you as you drive to meet the supervisor who will stand and watch how well you handle your first call.
Arriving on the scene of a house fire, where people are standing looking somewhat lost and in shock, reminds you why you are there. You are there to help these unfortunate folks any way you can with the backing of the Red Cross. The adrenaline kicks in and automatically, you are taking the information you need to help these victims get on the road to putting their lives back to some semblance of order.
Listening to the vicmtims say what they have lost: clothing, furniture, even a pet snake that couldn’t be saved, tugs at your heart strings. All you want to do is help in the way you have been trained. I learned that being a volunteer for the American Red Cross is a heart issue. And what I will do is help these folks back to the road of recovery. My heart swelled with pride knowing that I was part of the first step to their recovery.