by Bob Howard/American Red Cross

Usually Red Cross volunteers are sent to a disaster after it happens, but this Monday, one of the volunteers working in Houston had the opportunity to save a life during a flood.
Tim Thomson
Tim Thompson was walking back to where he has been staying during Monday evening’s heavy rains when he saw a car in stalled in three feet of water on the side of the road. He saw an elderly lady struggling to push the door open in the water. He rushed to help her out of her car and get her under cover in one of the nearby buildings.

“I could tell she was scared, and I was the only one there,” Tim explained. “I didn’t think about it, I just did it.”

He then made sure she was able to call family to help her and get a tow truck. Thankfully, she was unhurt.

The Red Cross has volunteers that come from all corners of the country to support local services whenever there is a large disaster. Tim Thomson is a volunteer from San Diego and Imperial Valley Chapter in California. He has been serving Houston as a Casework Reviewer, a person who makes sure that the needs of clients have been met by the Red Cross.

Tim began volunteering five years ago when his church offered to become a shelter location for the Red Cross. Congregants were asked to sign up for shelter training.

He found he enjoyed being part of an organization that gave him opportunities to put his training into action. Since he became a volunteer, Tim has been deployed to disaster areas more than 12 times. Putting his training to work, he has managed shelters and worked as caseworker. “The best part is that I can always learn how to do something new,” said Tim.

Responding to the needs of those impacted by the recent floods in Houston, volunteers have come from a far away as Maine and as close as the neighborhood down the street.  In the Red Cross, there is diversity in how volunteers look, how they speak and how they dress. But all have the same commitment to serve others in their time of crisis.

If you are interested in volunteering, visit or call your local Red Cross office.