As the last of the Tropical Storm Imelda shelters close, the transition back to home can be difficult for some whose homes are a complete loss. Gerard sought refuge at the YYAFA shelter in Silsbee after flooding left him homeless. It’s situations like Gerard’s that spawned the formation of the Shelter Transition Team, whose job is to help those who cannot return home to find a long-term, affordable solution.  That’s where Mary enters the picture. 

Mary has a large ranch and makes room for men who have no place to go — a good match for someone like Gerard. She provides rooms that are affordable, clean, and safe. In Gerard’s case, she is giving him a place to stay that, in his words, is “close enough for me to jog or ride a bike to work.”   

When asked what he would like to say to Mary he reached down (he is very, very tall) and gave her a big hug while telling her he loved her and she was a life saver, he appeared to be very, very grateful. Mary smiles, she is a humble woman who loves to help people transition into a better life. 

Without the Shelter Transition Team, Gerard could be left looking for a long-term housing solution on his own or living temporarily in a hotel and not have a clue how this chapter of life would end. The Red Cross is able to help make these connections — sometimes through community resources and sometimes through someone who knows someone who can help, and magic happens. Regardless of how the connection happened, Mary and Gerard are both grateful.