Hurricane Dorian: My Deployment Experience

By: AJ Suero

One of the most fulfilling aspects of serving at the American Red Cross is the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of total strangers. This is never more true than when our volunteers and staff deploy to a disaster relief operation. 

Recording a Hurricane Dorian update from Daytona Beach, FL

Back in late August, I traveled to Florida and North Carolina to assist in preparedness and relief efforts for Hurricane Dorian. As a story producer for the Red Cross’s Public Affairs team, I worked with a videographer to tell the story of what was going on in the hours leading up to, during, and after the passage of this deadly storm. We spoke with locals, tourists, and officials, all of whom where glad to see that the Red Cross was there to help. In Florida, we helped spread the word about the importance of emergency preparedness planning. “I had such a sense of relief when I saw your team out here,” said one Melbourne resident. 

Our public affairs team in Melbourne FL 
Left to right:  Regional Communications Manager Bill Fortune (Denver, CO) , me,  Communications Volunteer Cindy Huge, Blood Services Communicator Cynthia De La Torre (Las Vegas, NV) , National Media Relations Director Anthony Tornetta

In addition to my role in the making of videos, I also helped our team of spokespeople with interviews. Many media outlets wanted to get a sense of what was happening and how the Red Cross was helping. As we entered shelters and traveled from county to county, I was so overwhelmed to see so many dedicated volunteers across the region who were serving in shelters and at community centers. I felt an instant kinship with these amazing Red Crossers, people who had traveled from places near and far. It is incredibly gratifying to be reminded that there are compassionate people in the world—people who are willing to literally run toward danger to help those in need.

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