by Anthony Tornetta, guest contributor, Red Cross Philadelphia

anthony1It’s been a whirlwind day to say the least, as I deployed for my first official Advanced Public Affairs Team (APAT) assignment.

I departed Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at approximately 4 a.m. this morning bound for Houston in support of our American Red Cross relief efforts following the recent flooding and spring storms across Texas and Oklahoma.

Upon arriving at the Philadelphia International Airport, I was greeted by local media outlets NBC10 and 6ABC who were looking to learn more about the support that the Eastern Pennsylvania Region staff and volunteers were lending to our Texas colleagues.

After departing Philadelphia and a brief layover in Atlanta, it was on to Houston. Wings were down safely around 1040am.

I quickly retrieved my luggage, secured a rental car and hit the freeway. After a brief bit of confusion learning the Texas highway system, I pulled safely into Greater Houston Area Chapter, which is part of the Gulf Coast Region.

I parked and walked into the building and was greeted by a gigantic smile and hug from Vicki Eichstaedt, an active member of the Communications/Public Affairs Disaster Response Team. After some quick hellos, introductions and pleasantries, it was time to get down to business.

I was quickly prepped with talking points for an interview with NBC KPRC2 in Houston, yes that is correct, in the building less than 15 minutes and it was time for an interview.

However, I did take a minute to soak in my surroundings and what I saw was a sea of Red Cross staff and volunteers moving in unison with a common mission…to help those in need!

It’s moments like this that fill me with pride. One Team, One Mission, One Goal…To be there!
I am excited to help and look forward to sharing my experiences along the way.

Who knows, maybe this Philadelphia boy will get the chance to meet J.J. Watt from the Houston Texans.