As the Houston metro area reels from the second major flood in less than a year, over 800 volunteers have come from local communities and states far away to help residents recover by providing shelter, food, mental health resources, cleaning supplies and casework. It’s like taking a company of 200 and quadrupling it.
With this many volunteers working, there will always be health emergencies like allergies, head colds, and dehydration. People get tired working the long, emotional hours. They scrape their knees, get stung by red ants, and get sunburned.
But there are volunteers here to take care of the volunteers! Staff Health Services and Staff Mental Health Services help the helpers. Sometimes they just lend an ear after a volunteer has been overwhelmed by a client’s distress, but often they are providing the basic first aid that is needed for the bumps and bruises that come with a relief operation. Without these men and women to support the volunteers, the Red Cross wouldn’t be able to, in turn, support the community.
These are the unsung heroes of any disaster operation. If you are a medical professional and would like to be part of the Red Cross mission, go to www.redcross.org to begin the volunteer process.