As I walked into the office on my second day at the Red Cross, the last thing I was expecting to hear were the words “I’m getting deployed” come out of my supervisor’s mouth. I immediately thought the worst— Jackie was going to Afghanistan. Luckily for the both of us, my naïve instincts as a fresh intern were completely off track.
Jackie was actually getting deployed to Cape Cod to help with media control as Hurricane Earl approached. Not only was it Labor Day weekend but it was Jackie’s birthday on Friday. Of course, regardless of my cries about her birthday party getting cancelled, Jackie was overly excited to go on her first deployment at the Red Cross. When I asked her why she was so eager to finally receive a field position, Jackie told me “I love people and, sometimes, hardship brings out their best. They behave like neighbors. I always feel privileged when I get to see it.”
Nancy Cygan is another Chicago Red Cross volunteer that was deployed for Hurricane Earl. She told me that she had her FSI handbook in hand and was ready to report the financial statistics on the hurricane relief.
As a newcomer to the Red Cross, I knew that the Chicago Chapter helped out with national and international disaster relief. But finding out that Jackie and Nancy were actually getting deployed to the East Coast was way beyond my expectations for a local chapter. It is incredible to watch all of the chapters across the United States bond together and provide support towards an event that is honestly still up in the air. Hurricanes are known for their unexpected nature. Earl could hit this weekend as a mild rain storm (hopefully) or it could end up displacing families. The point is, even in times of uncertainty, Red Cross chapters are always ready to lend a helping hand regardless of the location (or planned birthday parties).
Follow Jackie on twitter@your_mssunshine for updates.
For now, it looks like things are calm before the storm on the Cape. Hopefully Hurricane Earl will weaken by the time it reaches New England. Please keep Jackie, Nancy, Red Cross volunteers and all people who may be affected by this storm in your thoughts for the weekend!
Lauren Snyder is an intern at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago