A tornado touched down in Texas City on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, damaging an apartment complex and requiring the assistance of local emergency responders. Red Cross Volunteer Joe Compian was one of the first on the scene.

“When I first arrived to the scene, it was a bit frightening. There was no electricity in the area and the first thing I saw with my headlights was a destroyed store. The area was blocked off and there was complete darkness,” he said.

Compian made his way through the darkness to the apartment complex where he learned some residents there would need shelter because their building had been damaged. Jessica Vallery lives in the apartments but was fortunate to not have been home when the tornado touched down.

“I was returning from work. When I got there everything was in chaos,” said Vallery, who went on to describe seeing a number of emergency personnel who arrived to help. She also noticed Red Crossers, “They’ve been really helpful.  They were the first people there and the morning after to help.”

“When I went back the next day, there was still a lot of glass on the grass area and sidewalks.  Roofs had been blown open, typical scene of a tornado,” said Compian. He is serving as a Red Cross liaison, working with elected officials to identify resources for residents in need.

Even in the midst of a pandemic, the American Red Cross continues to respond to disasters by providing food, shelter, health services, disaster mental health care, and supplying personal protective equipment for Red Cross responders and the families displaced by the tornado.