Story by Roberto Baltodano, American Red Cross
Millie Vargas, Disaster Responder – San Juan, Puerto Rico
What motivates husband and wife Millie and Jose Vargas is their desire to serve. Millie joined the Red Cross about eight years ago, and Jose has been helping in any way she can – from participating at community preparedness events, to distributing care packages for members of our armed forces, to responding to local disasters like home fires in the island, Hurricanes and floods in the mainland, including Hurricane Sandy in New York, and most recently during the Southeast Texas Floods.
When asked to described a time where she was impacted by someone she helped, Millie took a moment to think, then with a shine in her eyes said “I was fortunate to be there for a family who really needed us in Puerto Rico”. Mille went on to share that she once responded to a catastrophic flood where she came across a couple and their five children whose home had been destroyed by the disaster. “They lived in a humble house made of wood. The storm destroyed all but one room, and that’s where I found them, and so, they were very glad to see us there, ready to provide them with some assistance.” Millie says. “As a Red Cross volunteer, I am able to help people when needed most, especially those who feel hopeless. That is a wonderful experience”
Isis Moreno-Sutton, Disaster Program Manager – Laredo, Texas
From being the world’s greatest mom, kind phlebotomist, volunteer and Disaster Program Manager, Isis Moreno-Sutton lives to help people. On a bright spring day back in 2011, Isis decided she wanted to make a difference, so, she joined the Red Cross. After training as a disaster responder, Isis helped hundreds of families displaced by home fires – America’s most common disaster threat. And like Millie, Isis is not alone.
After a couple of years of being a disaster response volunteer, Isis was hired by the Red Cross to run the Disaster Program in Laredo, Texas. Soon after that, her husband, Abner and daughter Jazmin joined as volunteer responders themselves; at the Moreno-Sutton home, giving help and home is a family affair!
While Mom works on strengthening relations with community partners, local government officials and other NGOs, Dad helps as an Emergency Response Vehicle driver and Logistics volunteer. When not attending college, her daughter connects with families to make sure they have the resources to start again after a disaster – like home fires.
Every eight minutes, the American Red Cross responds to a disaster. The need for volunteers willing to help in their community is constant, and there are opportunities available to fit everyone’s schedule, background and interest. If you’d like to join Millie and Isis as part of the family, please visit www.redcross.org/volunteer.