Barbara Behling, left on Friday, May 16, 2014 when she got the call that her help was needed in the Red Cross response efforts for the wildfires in California. She flew back Wednesday, May 21, 2014 and here is one of the many stories she has written during her deployment. We thank Barbara for giving of her time and talent and for sharing the stories of how the Red Cross is helping those in need.
Photos & Story by: Barbara Behling, American Red Cross
It’s not often you have to leave your home with a 5-minute warning but for Eloisa Aleman this was San Diego wildfire reality. From frantic moments she found comfort, friendship and compassion in the Mission Hills High School shelter for several days.
From a collection of individuals, a community was formed thanks to a sea of red vested American Red Cross responders. Each person was welcomed to their ‘temporary home’ with a safe place to sleep, food and snacks around the clock. Medical professions provided a watchful eye to ensure any health issues were addressed including replacing medications left behind from a hasty exit. Compassionate care was provided to help calm fears and reduce stress as the flames grew and the smoke came closer. Through partnerships, all their pets were housed, fed and even walked. A few individuals even slept next to their furry friends in separate quarters.
When the evacuation orders were lifted many returned home to resume normal daily activities. However, for some, a new reality was about to begin with clean-up to begin as their homes were reduced to ashes.
Eloise Aleman was so impressed with the hospitality! She wanted a lasting reminder.
“You are all like family!” she exclaimed.
So she wanted to keep her shelter pillow and pranced to each red vest for an autograph and a hug. This act of appreciation, gratitude and memory will last a lifetime for each Red Cross worker.