Images from the Field: Southern Flooding

Several southern states have been hit with severe storms this month, and Red Crossers from around the nation are coming together to provide relief for thousands of residents affected by flooding and tornadoes. So far seven local volunteers from the Central California Region have been deployed to help. These are some of the stories of heartbreak and hope from the response.


As floodwaters entered the bathroom of Johnny Bradford’s Monroe, Louisiana home, he used a 5-gallon bucket to try to keep the water at bay, but after 35 buckets, he saw it would be unsafe to remain. He and his family were ultimately rescued and brought to a Red Cross shelter where they have been for nearly a week.

“The Red Cross has done so much for us. I wonder what’s going to happen when we leave here – how I’m going to find a place for all of us where we can be close,” said the father for four girls, including 9-month-old Jakenzie. “We’re safe, and we’re together now, though.”


Annias Baker, 78, has lived in the Monroe, Louisiana, home he shares with his sister for 30 years, and this is the first time it has flooded.

“The water was all the way up to the bed,” he said.

Baker and his sister evacuated to a Red Cross shelter nearly a week ago. Because health concerns make getting around difficult, Red Cross nurse Joan Nyitrai was able to provide him with a wheelchair to make his time away from home a little more comfortable.


Daurline Tanner used a dust pan and mop bucket to keep floodwaters from entering her living room, and her efforts paid off. While her favorite wool rug was ruined, she managed to save her furniture and more of her other belongings.

“My husband made us build the rest of our house up higher, but the living room is flat with the street,” she said, “That extra height saved almost everything.”


When Carroll Taylor saw the water rising in the backyard of her West Monroe, Louisiana home, she knew she had to leave. When she came back the next night, she found that about 6 inches of water had entered the living room of her home.

When the Red Cross came through her neighborhood, she had spent two days pulling carpeting out of home, bleaching her wall and cleaning the concrete floor below.

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Carroll Taylor picks up a Red Cross cleaning kit to help her recover from flooding in Louisiana

“I was mad at that this happened to me at first, but then I realized I was lucky,” she said. “I didn’t get it as bad as others – and I won’t need as much as others – but I’m so grateful that the Red Cross is here to help those who will need it.”


Cliff Winsor has lived by himself in his Rayville, Louisiana home since his wife’s passing in 2013. At 87, he’s lived through a lot, but this is the first time his home has flooded. Now he looks toward the future.

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Cliff Winsor, 87, is comforted by a Red Cross worker at his home in Rayville, LA

“At my age, it’s hard enough to think about what happens next after something like this,” he said with tears in his eyes, “but facing it alone without my wife makes it even harder.


 

Red Cross volunteers from around the nation will be helping residents in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas recover over the weeks to come.

If you want to help the Red Cross relief effort, it’s easy to make a donation. Simply call, click or text: 1-800-RED-CROSS, redcross.org, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999.

Celebrating Red Cross Month

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Since May of 1881, American Red Cross volunteers have been helping people prepare for the worst, assisting those affected by natural disasters and providing life-saving blood for patients in need. In honor of the heroes who perform these acts of selflessness each day, in 1943 President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the first March is Red Cross Month, a tradition that has been carried on by each President of the United States since.

The Red Cross Central California Region has hundreds of volunteers in multiple counties. However, no person’s contribution to their community should go overlooked. That’s why during Red Cross Month the Red Cross is recognizing the country’s everyday heroes. Those heroes who help disaster victims get on the road to recovery, give blood to a patient in need, brighten the day of a service member who is far from home, and take lifesaving CPR/AED/First Aid classes in order to assist someone having a medical emergency.

This willingness by people to donate their time and efforts to help others in need is what makes Red Cross such a special organization. During Red Cross month there are several ways to get involved in helping your community, whether you are a first time volunteer or a long time servant for your community.

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Volunteers hold up the “Golden Smoke Alarm” prize for installing the most alarms at a recent Home Fire Campaign event. (Photo Credit: Eddie Zamora)

One way to get involved is through the Home Fire Campaign. In Fall 2014, the Red Cross set a goal to reduce fire deaths and injuries by 25% over the next five years. Since then, volunteers have spread out across neighborhoods to teach people about fire dangers and provide free smoke alarms to those in need, all in hopes of preventing tragedy. In March, volunteers will meet in Visalia (March 12th), Winton (March 19th), and Santa Barbara (March 19th) to install free smoke alarms and educate families on the importance of fire safety. You can sign up to volunteer for these one day events and help build stronger communities.

Another way to get involved is through the donation of life-saving blood. This includes blood drives at Thousands Oaks Inn (March 7th), Moorpark College (March 8th), Oxnard College (March 8th), Rancho Santa Suzanna Community Center (March 11th), and Ventura City Hall (March 15th). Visit redcrossblood.org to find an upcoming drive near you.

In San Luis Obispo, join the Red Cross along with Pacific Gas and Electric Company and El Dorado Broadcasting for the annual Preparedness Expo on March 12. Bring the family out for a day of fun and learning, so you’ll be ready for earthquakes, fires, zombies, and more!

5568751404_170c5bba0a_oFriends of the Red Cross in the Santa Barbara area are invited to attend a Red Cross Month reception and happy hour at Benchmark Eatery on Wednesday, March 16 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. RSVP to kimberly.coley@redcross.org. Also keep an eye on State Street from March 11 through 18, as our traditional Red Cross banners will be waving proudly to mark the occasion.

So join us in honoring everyday heroes like our Red Cross volunteers by celebrating Red Cross Month. Whether it’s through a random act of kindness, making a donation, or participating in volunteer opportunities, take a moment with us this March to celebrate this important work.

For more information on upcoming Red Cross Central California events visit and how to get involved in American Red Cross month, visit redcross.org/centralcalifornia.

 

Zach Kramer
Red Cross Volunteer