From Board Member to Client, the Red Cross Comes Full Circle

By Tara Humphries, public affairs volunteer, American Red Cross

Amy Ward shares her story with local media.

Amy Ward shares her story with local media.

Amy Ward has served on the board of the American Red Cross Greater Pamlico Area Chapter for three years. She has helped with a number of fund raisers for disaster response, including traveling to Greenville for a Heroes Campaign telethon on April 9.

She joined the board because she was asked by another board member. “I was always community oriented but had not thought of the Red Cross. I just always did whatever, especially in a disaster,” Ms. Ward said, but had no hands-on experience.

As of Friday, April 25, that changed. She has a new respect for the organization and the chapter she now chairs and she knows what it feels like to respond to a disaster. That was the day a tornado struck her subdivision, hitting both her father’s and her mother’s homes, and barely missing her house.

“You definitely don’t expect anything like this to happen. It really does change your perspective,” Ms. Ward said. “It brings it a lot closer to home.”

tornado damage in chocowinity“You never know when you are going to need help. With hurricanes, you have time to decide how you want to deal with it. Not with this,” she said of the five minutes’ warning she had thanks to a friend’s call.  She ended up with eight to 10 people crammed into her downstairs bathroom while the tornado had its way with her neighborhood.

As soon as she and the others emerged from her house, they began helping their families and neighbors. And she began seeing first-hand what the Red Cross does during a disaster.

“It is one thing to fund raise for disasters,” Ms Ward said, “but when you are getting the assistance, it really brings it home.”

Her message for fellow survivors: “It is important to know that you have resources. People don’t know enough about the services and organizations that are there in a crisis.  You don’t have to do it all by yourself – the American Red Cross will always be there to help.”

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