Story and photo by MaryJane Mudd, American Red Cross
It’s hard to get Rosalind Scott’s attention. It’s nearly meal time, after all, and the shelter is abuzz with activity.
“Excuse me, are you in charge? I need something,” a resident inquires.
Meanwhile, someone bellows from across the room, “There’s someone at the door who needs to speak with you!”
I sheepishly walk up alongside her and say “Hi, I’m here to write about you,” wondering how she can possibly fit me in.
“Don’t worry about it,” reassures a tall, friendly man in a baseball cap. “I’m Rosalind’s husband, Adrian. I can help.” Rosalind loads boxes in her arms and walks away with a volunteer.
Before long, Adrian fills me in on the couple’s journey to the Houston Community College Fannin Street shelter from their home in Wichita, Kansas, where they first learned of Hurricane Harvey during a nightly news program. He takes me from how they both sought support from their employers, boarded a flight to Texas, engaged in initial volunteer work in Austin, then Houston at George R. Brown Convention Center, and finally, at the Houston Community College Fannin Center shelter.
When I caught up with them, Rosalind had been named shelter manager for that location and other than a short weekend back in Wichita to see family and look in on their puppy, they had been volunteering for seven weeks.
Rosalind makes her way back to us with brief stops to answer questions from residents. Then she explains the reason for her dedication:
“I was about 11 during ‘The Great Flood of 1993.’ It ravaged our town of Manhattan, Kansas, and while our family was able to stay at a hotel, my aunt and our cousins had nowhere to go,” she says. “So they stayed at a Red Cross shelter. We would visit her and our cousins, and I’d get to read to the children there. The volunteers were so caring and it made everything better. I’ve never forgotten the experience.”
Adrian adds that when he first met his bride of one year that volunteerism and giving back would be part of their lives.
“She’s always volunteering but this is our very first disaster response with the Red Cross. I figured we’d be in it together – and I’m glad we are.”
Asked about the challenges of spending so much time away from home, Rosalind and Adrian look at each other and smile.
“We are here for those who were devastated by the storms,” Rosalind reflects. “I can remember my family working with agencies to get back on their feet, like FEMA, HUD and others. I know how it can feel. If I can share my story to give others courage, then it’s worth it. That’s what it’s all about.”
And with that, husband and wife pose for a photo and disappear into the shelter, where people beckon. After all, they have work to do.