“Oh the wonderful, productive chaos of a Red Cross deployment!”
By Kris Posey, Red Cross Twin Cities Area Chapter Disaster Services Volunteer
The first day: one plane trip, one rental car shared with two Red Cross volunteers from Connecticut, and no “room at the inn” because they’d been rented long ago for a Georgia Tech football game. After much effort by Staff Services Lodging volunteers, thirty-four of us were able to drive about twenty miles to a motel for the night. My roommate was from Tennessee. After we determined that I was older–much older–she decided to call me Mom for the remainder of our time together. I loved that!
My second day in Georgia meant a new assignment, a new motel, and a new roommate from Long Island.
The new assignment was working as Staff Support at a satellite Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) kitchen in a church in Mableton, Georgia, that would be closer to the mobile feeding routes. This meant moving to another motel room (a very nice one thankfully) so the ERV drivers would not need to spend as much time commuting back and forth to the job. We shared the church offices with the Southern Baptists who were there to cook the food that the Red Cross ERV’s delivered. There were 20+ ERV’s working out of this kitchen and the collaboration between Red Cross and Southern Baptists was run like a fine tuned machine!
I had an opportunity to ride on two different ERV runs and see some of the people who were affected by the floods—many of them had nothing much before the floods. They were very appreciative of the two meals a day Red Cross was delivering to them. I was glad that I had attended the “Ready Set Roll” ERV class because I was able to help in a productive way instead of being a third wheel. I knew what to look for when the drivers asked for a spoodle!
After ten days, Red Cross had met the needs of the residents and it was time for everyone to head back home. We out processed all of the drivers and after their ERVs passed the road inspection 20+ ERVs headed back home to places all over the South.
I stayed another three days to finish my assignment at Red Cross Headquarters. Yes, this meant moving to a fourth motel. Then I returned home where I crashed for two days (a given after a deployment) and now I am ready to deploy all over again!