Posts tagged ‘American Red Cross’
The month of March feels kind of like a vinyl record with a scratch in it; there is still a lot of music, but there are skips, repeats, and the tracks don’t always play as they should. For now, I am starting at the present, and moving backwards – in pieces.
Our son Mason came home from school for a brief weekend visit, as we had missed him over his Spring Break. We got to catch up, get back on our bikes after too many days absence, and do a little leisurely riding in the incredibly balmy temps that have been setting records across the country. Mason had spent his break with a team of students from his university; they travelled to the islands of Trinidad & Tobago to work on a Habitat for Humanity Global Village project – mixing concrete, shoveling sand and helping lay the foundation for a family’s new home. There was a cement workers’ strike on the islands, so they really had their work cut out for themselves – mixing everything by hand with shovels and a lot of muscle.
He had some wonderful stories (best listened to while we were out on our bikes), made some new friends, got some running in (lol), and I loved that he took some time from his busy schedule to do some giving back. (Photos from my son’s camera).
foot race challenge
Habitat for Humanity Global Village, Trinidad & Tobago … the cement mixing
While Mason was off getting dirty and building houses, the rest of us headed to the mountains for our annual week of skiing in Colorado. It was a well-needed break for all of us. The snow was wonderful, the skiing fantastic, and like in years past, it was hard to come back home – I always tend to leave a part of myself in the snow and mountains, and someday may be staying for good. My plan is to post a gallery of snow-mountain-ski pics of this place I love, my second home, later this week. But for now I’m just including a few of the bike-y ones (and a snowy one … because it’s been so warm everywhere else).
I love the active mountain culture in Steamboat, and especially that they are so bicycle friendly – they are an LAB Gold Level community. Skiers on bikes, bikes loaded with everything from groceries to snowboards to dogs and kids. Weather, altitude, snow-covered roads are never a deterrent. One of these days my dream is to have a little house along the Yampa River, riding on the Core Trail into town for breakfast or lunch, and loading my skis on my Xtracycle for a trip to the slopes. Oh, perfect life.
And then there was all of the tornado and Red Cross stuff that I had left off with. Sigh. I am relieved to report that the damage was not as massive in scope as last April – which is still little consolation to the people who have lost their homes – and we are all grateful that no lives were lost. Our local Red Cross chapter joined with folks from Chattanooga and Knoxville, and the relief efforts went very well, as you can read in detail here. (Photo credit for these two shots from my volunteer friend, Sandy; my camera stayed at home).
But very sadly, in the midst of all of the disaster response, our chapter suffered another major blow; due to continuing reorganization and personell changes, we now no longer have a Disaster Services Director in our chapter. My friend, mentor, and “boss”, Michele – a 10 year Red Cross veteran – is no longer with the organization. This change in addition to the other personell cuts made earlier in the month, I can’t help but think that the writing is on the wall, so to speak. It appears our small local chapter has effectively been dismantled at this point, and I am greatly saddened … I honestly don’t know what my own volunteer future will be.
Most frustrating, no one from the upper echelons seems to be providing any communication/direction to the volunteer base. It reminds me of sitting in an airplane on a runway with no pilot … are they going to cancel our flight? Are they going to send another pilot? Or do they just expect one of the passengers to take the controls? Like I said, it’s just incredibly frustrating – which made my decision to leave for some skiing during Spring Break a little easier.
I am back to my bike, my silly routine. I am sorry to have not been able to finish the Utilitaire games, but I take my hat off to The Old Guy and my other friends who finished successfully – I applaud you all. And I thank MG for the dreaming up the whole idea, for I had great fun participating for the weeks that I was able to – which, for me, is what it was all about anyway. It made me re-think variety in destination riding, and I look forward to incorporating the goals into my riding routine.
Hopefully the remainder of March will be a little more normal, a little less interrupted, no big scratches. We’ll see.
It’s slightly rattling to think that less than a month ago we were enjoying balmy beach days along the Outer Banks on the southern end of Cape Hatteras – and now portions of the Cape are being evacuated in preparation for possibility of Hurricane Irene making landfall. Today, as I continue to watch the weather forecasts and receive emails from the Red Cross, I find myself feeling anxious … and experiencing that pull that I felt during the tornados back in April.
Since April, I’ve logged over 430 volunteer hours with the Red Cross – a large portion involving classroom training and local disaster response activities, from serving during the tornados to client casework with local house fires. And now (at leaset according to my supervisors and the training staff) I am considered to be capable enough, experienced, and trained in the critical response activities necessary to respond to a national disaster should it be required.
And, very sadly, it’s looking as if this could be imminent with Hurricane Irene.
My hat is now “officially in the ring” so to speak, for national deployment – and depending on Irene’s course and resulting destruction, I may be called to deploy for a couple of weeks in September or beyond, somewhere along the East Coast. I just hope that I will be able to serve well and make a contribution.
Ironically (?) one of the functions I was encouraged to be available to serve in may involve the very stuff of, well, … the types of things I’ve been doing on this blog – they may in fact put me to work taking photos, doing some writing and PR-related work in the field. Public exposure for purposes of fundraising and to let the public know how the Red Cross is serving is a vital component for the organization during disasters, and there is a need for people with the appropriate skill set. Apparently they feel I could be useful in this capacity – with my camera, no less. Who knew? :-0
But if not serving with my camera, I am also ready to serve in Mass Care and Client Casework – activities that really hit home for me, especially after working during the tornados.
I truly hope that Irene will decide to change course and head far out into the Atlantic. I hope that the artist’s house, Sea Rider, and all of the places I love along Cape Hatteras will be spared major devestation – along with the rest of the East Coast. But if Irene should arrive, and if I am called, I will be honored to serve – in whatever capacity I can help with the most. I’m a little bit nervous, but I am ready and willing.
And a reminder to all of us: please be prepared, no matter where you live. Please – be Red Cross Ready: make a plan, have a kit, stay informed.