Volunteer Reflections – Carrie Reilly

Written by Carrie Reilly, American Red Cross Volunteer

Volunteer Carrie Reilly delivers water and supplies to residents impacted by 2014's Boles Fire in Weed, CA.
Volunteer Carrie Reilly delivers water and supplies to residents impacted by 2014’s Boles Fire in Weed, CA.

I was sent someplace – can’t recall where – but a big fire had swept through a small city leaving it a lunar landscape. I was with the ERV [Emergency Response Vehicle] doing mobile feeding and it was just as the first light of day on a cold overcast morning that my partner and I suddenly noticed the people combing their property for anything of value suddenly stop and stand up. Utter silence engulfed us. Then, the most beautiful sound reached our ears. It was the sound of a single trumpet playing taps and someone slowly raised an American flag. When the final notes ended, the sun suddenly burst through the clouds. The chill of the day appeared to dissipate and warmth touched every heart and face. Freddie Az was my partner and we didn’t speak or move for minutes. I can’t explain it but it was as if every dead tree had absorbed the sound of taps and was echoing it back to everyone.

Carrie and volunteer Freddy Aw, prep an ERV to head out and deliver food, water, and supplies to disaster victims.
Carrie and volunteer Freddie Az, prep an ERV to head out and deliver food, water, and supplies to disaster victims.

Taps was played in honor of the fallen town, but in my heart I’ve always believed it was those notes that began the rebirth of that blackened landscape and the people who had lived in those homes. The tribute of taps being played, along with the raising of the American flag, certainly was far more than any thank you I have ever received.

I have never worked any disaster – close by or far away – where the majority of people didn’t thank me as a Red Cross volunteer. I have met upset people, angry people, dazed people – but if I had to put it into words I’d say the reason for being a Red Cross volunteer is because it is in times of disaster that the best of mankind asserts itself.

Carrie Reilly joined the Red Cross the day after Hurricane Katrina hit – 10 years ago this August – and spent two weeks helping the disaster relief efforts in Louisiana. Upon her return home she took the first Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) class available and has taken numerous training classes since. She has deployed to many disasters, locally and nationally, providing shelter support, bulk distribution, mobile feeding, disaster assessment and much more.

Carrie checks the latest info before heading out on the next ERV delivery run.
Carrie checks the latest info before heading out on the next ERV delivery run.

Recognizing Excellence – Volunteer Instructor, George Schubel

George10This month the Annual American Red Cross National Award ceremony will be held in Washington, DC, highlighting the extraordinary work of the Red Cross over the past year. Specifically, this annual event will once again recognize those employees and/or volunteers from across the country who have gone above and beyond the level of extraordinary service. Continue reading Recognizing Excellence – Volunteer Instructor, George Schubel

Red Cross Honors Local Heroes of Sacramento and Yolo Counties

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Today is one of our favorite days of the year in the Gold Country Region. This morning, at the Woodland Community Center (Yolo County), we will celebrate our Annual Heroes Recognition Luncheon and proudly recognize members of the community who have gone above and beyond to make a difference. From saving lives – of both people AND pets, to going the extra mile to make a positive impact, Heroes come in all forms. Continue reading Red Cross Honors Local Heroes of Sacramento and Yolo Counties

Red Cross Fire Safety Campaign Aims to Raise Awareness, Reduce Deaths and Injuries

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Volunteers launched the Home Fire Safety Campaign in the Gold Country Region with a visit to Turlock neighborhoods in November.

This weekend, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service and a continued commitment to serve our communities, Red Cross volunteers will visit neighborhoods in Sacramento, Chico, and Turlock to help residents be fire safe.

The community canvass events – during which volunteers will also install smoke detectors in homes in need – is part of a national Red Cross campaign aimed to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years. Continue reading Red Cross Fire Safety Campaign Aims to Raise Awareness, Reduce Deaths and Injuries

American Red Cross Offers Resources for Residents Impacted by Boles Fire

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Capital Region CEO, Kathleen Weis, surveys Boles Fire damage with CAL FIRE.

~Local Assistance Center now open in Weed~

The American Red Cross has opened a Local Assistance Center for residents impacted by the Boles Fire in the City of Weed. Located at the College of the Siskiyous, 800 College Ave in Weed, Red Cross volunteers will be on-site daily from 10am – 7pm* to meet with impacted residents and provide disaster assistance. Continue reading American Red Cross Offers Resources for Residents Impacted by Boles Fire

American Red Cross Urges Preparedness in Wake of Napa Earthquake

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In the early morning of August 24, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake rattled through Napa County and surrounding areas, causing injuries, damaging homes, business and utilities, and delivering a jarring wake-up call to Californians reminding of our earthquake risks. Continue reading American Red Cross Urges Preparedness in Wake of Napa Earthquake

Red Cross Issues Top Ten Ways to Be Safe When Swimming Over 4th of July Holiday

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The long Fourth of July weekend is here and many people will spend part of their holiday at a backyard or community pool. The American Red Cross is issuing ten steps people should take to be safe while poolside.

A recent Red Cross survey found that eight out of ten Americans are planning water activities such as going to the beach, pool, water park, or boating or fishing this summer. A third (32 percent) of all Americans plan to swim at a place without a lifeguard. The Red Cross has launched an anti-drowning campaign this summer that promotes swim lessons and safe swimming. Continue reading Red Cross Issues Top Ten Ways to Be Safe When Swimming Over 4th of July Holiday

Red Cross Takes Part in Triennial Airport Exercise

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Written by Sandy Baker, Red Cross Volunteer

When we pack our bags and check in at the airline counter for a long overdue trip to Maui, most of us never give a second thought to what goes on behind the scenes of an airport to keep us safe. Just like home, school, or work, the entire airport must create a cohesive plan, working together to prepare for potential emergencies. Continue reading Red Cross Takes Part in Triennial Airport Exercise

Volunteer Perspective – Red Cross Response to Shasta County Emergency

~Written by Caroline Nilsson, Volunteer for the American Red Cross of Northeastern California~

It was 6 PM on Friday night when my cell phone rang.  Pat Day’s voice was on the line. 

“You won’t believe it,” she said.  “You know that explosion that happened a couple of days ago?  Well, they’ve found explosives in the house.  They’re evacuating the area.  We need to open a shelter.”

I’d been expecting a call.  Amidst the driest winter in years, the rain had finally begun to fall on our Northeastern California town, and rain in Redding often means snow in the mountains.  I’d already gotten a heads-up that we might need to open a shelter in Siskiyou if the storms were bad.  We hadn’t been expecting explosives. Continue reading Volunteer Perspective – Red Cross Response to Shasta County Emergency