As you approach Linda Jones at the American Red Cross shelter in Beaumont, Texas, you can tell she feels nothing but grateful to be in a safe place.  Tears roll down her face as she recalls the ordeal she went through as Hurricane Laura was intensifying off the gulf coast.

Linda received a call from her daughter, Adriane Williams, and learned they needed to evacuate Port Arthur, Texas due to the impending storm.  Linda and six family members began their evacuation journey on Tuesday morning, August 25, 2020, to the Port Arthur Civic Center.  They were transported by bus to Huntsville, Texas.  This was not Linda’s first hurricane evacuation; last time she evacuated she ended up being away from her home for two months, so she knew to pack all her essentials like clothes and medication.  In fact, her “go bag” was bigger than the volunteer helping her out!  Fortunately, Linda’s Hurricane Laura evacuation only lasted a few days and she and her family returned home to only minor damage and power outage.

With a grateful heart, Linda says that between her stay in the Huntsville High School shelter, the Holiday Inn in Spring, Texas, and then the shelter in Beaumont, she feels truly blessed.  “The people in Huntsville, the Red Cross and the National Guard are just amazing and so generous!  I wish I had a lot of money I could donate to the Red Cross.  I just want to pray for all these wonderful volunteers, but I will be leaving tonight or tomorrow.  I am giving up my bed because I have a place to go.”

People like Linda are depending on the Red Cross now.  Help people affected by Hurricane Laura by visiting, calling 800-RED-CROSS or texting the word LAURA to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

By: Juanita P. Casanova, American Red Cross contributor