Having crossed state borders and answered to the gravest disasters during a year of recurring widespread fires and catastrophic hurricanes, American Red Cross emergency response members have demonstrated their ardent devotion toward emergency response, disaster preparedness, and the delivery of hope by dispatching Spanish language teams to reach out to Hispanic communities.
Lourdes Paz began her involvement as a Community Emergency Response Team volunteer in 2016, where she has provided a great deal of assistance. Paz has brought more Hispanic volunteers to the emergency team, subsequently paving the way for more interactive heuristic trainings on emergency response in Spanish. Her experience led Paz to become the team leader of the first Latin American group of the American Red Cross.
“I have recruited many people to the CERT,” said Paz. “I have several groups, some still active, we helped the shelters during Hurricane Harvey. We also deploy my group to regions outside of the Houston area to bring food and water to needy families.”
Paz became a young humanitarian while volunteering for the Children of the Firefighters of the Fire Cross in her native country of Honduras. “Ever since I saw the Red Cross, I wanted to be part of this great family and I am grateful to be passionate about what I do,” she said. She is now a shelter supervisor and recruiter, leads training in Spanish and has been a training instructor in the Sam Houston High School.
“My expectation is to continue training my group and recruit more people to create more opportunities in Spanish,” Paz said. “My team works as a family, I feel very proud of them, and I am proud of being Latino because we represent the Hispanic community which enables us to help Spanish-speaking families.”
Their response to emergencies has spared the lives of evacuees, and the ongoing installations of smoke alarms has merged resilient communities.
“I would like to reach more Hispanic communities and let them know the importance of having a smoke alarm at home,” she said “I would also like all the teams to learn how to fill in an application, make calls and even install an alarm themselves.”
Paz added, “I am very proud of my entire group, the type of people that make my team range from housewives to businesswomen, women and men who are always willing to volunteer when called.”