Thursday, November 3, 2016

Kentucky Region CEO Returns from North Carolina

The following post was written by Jennifer Adrio, CEO of the Kentucky Region Red Cross, as part of an update of her deployment. Jennifer deployed to North Carolina as part of relief efforts for Hurricane Matthew.

I've arrived home in Kentucky after spending two weeks on the Hurricane Matthew disaster response. It's great to be back.

I was stationed in North Carolina and a majority of my time I worked out of the Ft. Bragg operations center, serving Robeson County, NC and surrounding areas. This is the poorest county in the state which had many challenges before the hurricane and horrific flooding. Upon arrival, there were 5 shelters opened with around 600 people.
Home in the process of being cleaned out.
When I left last week, 2 shelters were still open, serving approximately 150 residents. Casework had ramped up and our teams were visiting with folks to provide assistance beyond FEMA, if needed. We were still serving thousands of meals a day through our Emergency Response Vehicles and at distribution sites throughout the community. In addition, we were delivering clean up supplies to residents to help them begin mucking out their homes. Clean and safe water had begun to come back on in Lumberton at the end of last week, nearly 3 weeks after the storms passed through.

The two words that come to mind about this experience are hope and resiliency. The resiliency shown by the residents and the community was unbelievable. These folks had lost everything in some cases, but they remained positive and were working toward moving on with their lives, while supporting each other through the process.
Mother and daughter team, from Texas.

Our Red Cross "army" of over 500 volunteers in my area alone, did everything from sleeping on cots in shelters with dozens of other people so they can work in a shelter, 12 hours a day for two weeks straight. Other Red Crossers drove Emergency Response Vehicles from across the United States, so they could help serve meals and hope to people they had never met.

This was and continues to be a huge relief operation. You can't imagine what it's like to see firsthand an operation like this up and functioning in a few hours, operating 24/7 all over the state of North Carolina, run by people who have never met nor worked together prior to this, coming from all walks of life. Talk about diversity and inclusion... the Red Cross lives it.
 The Weather Channel visited the shelter at
Robeson County fairgrounds with a therapy dog.
My role was to serve as an elected official liaison... working with mayors, city council members, county leaders and community stalwarts to maintain the Red Cross image, and more importantly, to listen and serve as someone who could assist their communities and constituents through the Red Cross. I was very proud of our organization.

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