Many of us may think of the Red Cross as an organization that does good things for people in other places. Flooding in southern West Virginia or wildfires out West might be accompanied by stories of Red Cross volunteers providing aid and comfort to those in harm’s way, but we do not often realize how much good the group is doing right here at home.
In the wake of this week’s storm – and, by the way, despite the fact a confirmed tornado did touch down across the state, in Fairmont, the National Weather Service insists our area was struck simply by intense thunderstorms – the Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the Red Cross was at the ready to provide cots and supplies for an emergency shelter at South Parkersburg Baptist Church.
Several families who were unable to remain in their homes were forced to take refuge in the shelter. The Red Cross managed the shelter, providing personnel and supplies, in addition to expertise. In fact, Red Cross volunteers came from other regions to help.
Red Cross volunteer Susan Hughes said she and other workers have been a support crew for residents seeking alternative housing. Those folks have a safe place to sleep, and are receiving meals and snacks, freeing them to tackle the aftermath of a storm that was reminiscent of the 2012 derecho that inspired the Red Cross’s relationship with South Parkersburg Baptist.
Executive Pastor Lloyd Hamblin said “We try to serve the community any way we can; part of our mission is to be good neighbors …” So, after the derecho, the church notified the Red Cross that if it ever needed to use the church building as a shelter, it would be available.
Mid-Ohio Valley residents should be grateful to have neighbors such as our local Red Cross and church leaders who are willing to provide that extra measure of support for those recovering from disasters like this week’s storm.