Monday, May 16, 2011

Chicago Red Cross Staff Serves in Flood Disaster

A week and a half of being on the clock 24-7, little sleep, helping distressed families, and observing what the widespread flood has damaged can sound stressful or even frightening to anyone. But Becky Streifler, a Chicago Red Cross staff member, looks forward to experiencing all of the above.

Becky feels compassionate about relieving families of stress through the mental health team in the Memphis, Tennessee flood.

“You never clock out and you are there to provide people with mental health support the whole time. As a mental health deployment team we have to be useful to ourselves or we can’t be useful to others,” said Becky.

When disaster-affected areas ask the Red Cross network for help, trained volunteers can be sent nationwide to aid those in need of help.

“When the American Red Cross is there, the community knows help has arrived,” said Becky.

She’s been deployed several times before to locations such as Greensburg, Kansas and Haiti as a mental health specialist. She is there to care for those who need comfort and reassurance that feelings of distress can be normal after a traumatic experience.

Of course Becky has her moments of being nervous like anyone else would, but what motivates to help is being there for the disaster victims. And that is rewarding enough for her.

Take a few minutes and check out Becky's video interview one day before she deployed.

If you would like to sign-up for volunteering at the American Red Cross, visit these links: volunteer and take a class . So the next time disaster strikes in your neighborhood or across the country, you will be ready to serve. One of the ways you can assist others down South is through taking a disaster service human resources class that the American Red Cross offers. Complete this class and you too can become a part of serving people who were affected by the flood.

Written by Rachel Moten

Photo from American Red Cross on Flickr

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