Thirteen volunteers from the Northeast Red Cross were deployed to provide relief efforts in Texas after the severe floods. Bob and Kathy Cooker were among the group. Bob shared some insights regarding their efforts:
Can you explain some of the things you were doing while you were deployed?
“We were first deployed to Fort Worth, where we worked in outreach. We handled client coursework that had the assessments of the damages of all the homes. Next we went to Dallas, and answered phones at a call center where clients would call in who needed assistance. Then we went to New Braunsfels where I was a casework manager for outreach. In this position I would interview and open cases for clients that had major damages.”
Any moments during your trip that stood out to you?
“One of our clients was in a MARC (Multi-Agency Resource Center) but I had to go to her home and assess the damage, then go back and tell her. Another time had to assist a client who was evacuated by helicopter.”
How can the community prepare itself for a disaster such as the Texas floods?
“I think flooding is most insidious [of all the natural disasters]. There’s not a lot you can do to prevent damage. You can sandbag, but the water just comes in slow and goes out slow, [it’s] the worst kind of disaster because it keeps coming, really all you can do is listen to weather forecast and listen if you should evacuated, don’t drive in water — only 8 inches of water can take your car off the road.”
What would you say to potential volunteers thinking about joining the Red Cross?
“Make sure you have the right training, be prepared for long days, and be patient.”