Diary of a Dedicated Disaster Relief Volunteer — Part 2

Danelle Stoppel, a Red Cross volunteer with the SEPA chapter, is very experienced with the transition from volunteering at the local level to the national level and understands the ongoing problems that come with traveling through areas devastated by fire. This blog was compiled from a series of text messages sent by Danelle from her recent posting in Colorado Springs.

(Below are the second set of compiled texts. To see the first set,  click here.


July 4th, 2012 – Colorado Springs

Our ERV came upon people who requested our help.  In an area with no reported losses, an elderly couple entered their home to find it completely destroyed by fire and now water damage from the rains.  We helped them with valuables and medicine.  The roof was leaking and the Sheetrock was falling.  We helped them grab what they wanted to save, including an antique painting from Poland, and left the house.  The mayor’s wife and a community leader who is also a roofer mobilized his crew to cover the house since we are now under a flood watch.  Thank God for my Disaster Action Team training on difficult responses, which trained me to look up first and think safety.  My boots did the job again. Please people, no sneakers on DAT! Motto for the day: Red Cross boots on the ground!

Yesterday the new manager arrived. Her name is Janet and she is from Florida.  I quickly briefed her of the events and activities of the past eight days. She arrived with a supervisor named Sharon, also from Florida.  They have worked together on other disaster responses. Janet and Sharon set up their operation and I stepped aside so they could assume command.  My crew of great young people including Karin, Lisa, Michael, Luanna, Walt, Don, Carol, and Ruth are now part of a larger group of thirty people. I will see them tonight at a local party sponsored by Colorado Springs to honor the American Red Cross.

Danelle’s “Psych Six Team”

I am currently riding on an ERV to deliver services to residents who are seeing their homes for the first time. I leave tomorrow for home and I know my chapter is busy with a large fire and the aftermath of strong storms.  I promised American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter pins to many people since it is considered a real find.  Hopefully, my energetic approach to delivering mental health services has been effective during the first phase of this disaster response. Mental health was the first service to arrive in Colorado Springs. See you soon.



Happy 4th of July from Colorado Springs! Kids selling lemonade to raise money for Red Cross

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