By April Oppliger, American Red Cross

HOUSTON, Texas — When others are in need, Houston resident Marie Harris usually is the one to step up. “Normally, I’m the saver,” she says.
But when Hurricane Harvey flooding and roof damage left her home unlivable, she found that she was the one in need of rescue.

Marie describes herself as confused, scared, hungry, dehydrated and emotionally spent after weathering her first hurricane. She didn’t know where to turn until someone suggested she go to an American Red Cross shelter.
“I was hopeless coming to you guys,” she said. “Just for me to see the disaster relief signs started giving me a little bit of hope again.

“When I got to those Red Cross doors, the people at the shelter made me feel safe, comfortable and at ease that everything is going to be OK. They were like, ‘Miss Harris, you’re welcome here. You come in and get some rest’.”

For seven days, the shelter was Marie’s home, providing a safe place to stay and rest, warm meals and emotional support. Marie says the Red Cross now means many things to her – a brighter day, compassion, understanding.

“I am so, so, so happy that I had a wonderful experience with the Red Cross. I love the American Red Cross,” she said. After years of helping others, Marie said the Red Cross was there for her when she needed help. “And if that was my karma, amen to that!”

Photo by Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross
Marie Harris has found new meaning in the American Red Cross – a symbol of hope when she needed it most.