Disaster Deployment, Day 5

Nationally, the American Red Cross is busy. "Since operations began on March 31, the American Red Cross has served 513,873 meals and snacks, opened 122 shelters with 8,322 overnight stays; made over 6,206 health and mental health contacts, and distributed 122,234 bulk items. These operations have been supported by 3,750 volunteers and staff, 153 ERV's, and 11 Emergency Communication Response Vehicles."


And today my field work began. Casework has started and I met with families today, including families with seriously injured and deceased loved ones.

Words cannot really explain the experience. My heart is open and full of compassion for these clients but nothing I did (or could have done) prepared me for the depth of sorrow I would see and feel.

Multiple generations are affected by this. There is loss of property, homes and personal belongings; loss of the past (pictures, memories, etc); loss of future plans and stability; loss of life.

The stories and details I heard about families watching the tornado pass over them is a whole new level of disaster in my relief experience, and a whole new level of catastrophe.

A long walk and a short cry, a big hug and a good conversation have helped me understand how to cope with this. It was my first fatality experience. I don't think responding to fatalities will ever get easier, but that as I learn my own emotions and response I will be better able to mentally, emotionally and spiritually process the experiences. And when this is all said and done my capacity to provide support will have grown exponentially.

Deep breath. My heart and mind are present. Signing out.

PS. I don't have a camera with me so the blackberry pictures will have to do. The picture above is a tiny piece of the widespread (but limited to a narrow area) destruction.


  1. sis. my heart goes out to you and the people you are helping. you are amazing. seriously.

    i love you.

  2. Agree with meish. You are amazing and what you are doing is changing the lives of these people. You are such a great example. Lots of love!


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